A drug treating a common parasite that attacks people with weakened immune systems has increased in cost by 5000% overnight.
Thanks to Hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, the life-saving drug Daraprim will now cost $750 per pill—up from $13.50.
Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a condition caused by a parasite that exists in nearly a quarter of the U.S. population over the age of 12. However, it can be fatal for unborn children of pregnant women and for ‘immunocompromised’ individuals, like AIDS patients. The drug has been a mainstay in the U.S. market since Impax Laboratories developed it in 1953.
Shkreli’s company only acquired Daraprim last month, and is already vying with Donald Trump and the dentist that killed Cecil the Lion as the most hated man in America. His Twitter interactions will certainly help him cement the title.
Unfortunately, the FDA has no say in the matter: “We understand that drug prices have a direct impact on the ability of people to cope with their illnesses as well as meet other expenses. However, FDA has no legal authority to investigate or control the prices charged for marketed drugs.”
The gouging of pharmaceuticals has become such a hot topic thanks to Shkreli, it’s quickly become a Presidential campaign issue. Hillary Clinton called Turing’s price change “outrageous” and announced that she would reveal a plan to take the “specialty drug market” to task on Tuesday.
Despite all the backlash, amazingly, Shkreli thinks the drug is still underpriced.
In light of this nonsense and Clinton’s response to pharmaceuticals, biotech stocks took a tumble yesterday. While Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals may get rich off of Daraprim, he’s put the entire biotech industry in an uncomfortable spotlight.