Everybody give Martin Shkreli a round of applause for topping Donald Trump as the biggest asshole in the U.S. On Monday, Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, had raised the price of a life-saving drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
Daraprim is used for treating toxoplasmosis — an opportunistic parasitic infection that can cause serious or even life-threatening problems in babies and for people with compromised immune systems like AIDS patients and certain cancer patients — that sold for slightly over $1 a tablet several years ago. Prices have increased as the rights to the drug have been passed from one pharmaceutical company to the next, but nothing like the almost 5,500 percent increase since Shkreli acquired it.
“Why was it necessary to raise the price of Daraprim so drastically?” CBS News correspondent Don Dahler asked Shkreli.
“Well, it depends on how you define so drastically. Because the drug was unprofitable at the former price, so any company selling it would be losing money. And at this price it’s a reasonable profit. Not excessive at all,” Shkreli responded.
Yeah, not excessive at all because the rich person who just purchased it is the only person who can now afford it.
When Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim to $750 per tablet, the average cost of treatment for patients rose from about $1,130 to $63,000. For certain patients, the cost can go as high as $634,000.
Shkreli said he isn’t being “greedy,” he said there are “a lot of altruistic properties to it.”
“This is a disease where there hasn’t been one pharmaceutical company focused on it for 70 years. We’re now a company that is dedicated to the treatment and cure of toxoplasmosis. And with these new profits we can spend all of that upside on these patients who sorely need a new drug, in my opinion,” he added.
Oncologist and CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus disagreed.
“Patients shouldn’t be taxed and charged for future research and development. Patients should pay for the drug they’re getting and what they need in the situation that they are” Agus said.
“It’s predatory practice and it’s inappropriate,” he added.
Shkreli, you sir, are an asshole.
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