Martin Shkreli is one of the most disliked men in America right now, spiking controversy after raising the price of the prescription Daraprim 5000% from $13.50 to $750.
Fair warning, 5000% is not a typo, and Shkreli’s tweets are just too good to be fabricated. Perhaps, it’s time Shkreli uses his millions to hire a PR rep.Taking it upon himself to defend his actions, Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, sent out 125+ tweets to the “haters” who questioned his actions and motives.
Shkreli seems to believe that the motivation of those calling him out, comes from a place of “socialist and liberal rage,” rather than genuine frustration. His Twitter is now private, but the screenshots of his Tweets live on below.
What is Daraprim, and why are prescription price hikes a big deal?
- Treats: parasite infections, mainly toxoplasmosis, and HIV
- Helps: those with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and pregnant women
- Prevents: malaria and other parasite infections
- Daraprim used to cost $1 per pill
Refer back to fact #4. Yes, this same pill that is scandalously priced at $750 used to be $1. That is, before CorePharma acquired the patent rights in 2010 and started raising its price before Turing bought the exclusive rights from CorePharma. So in other words, this isn’t the first time pharmaceutical companies have unjustifiably caused prescription price hikes in excess.
Although it’s easy to make Shkreli out to be a monster, it could be a blessing in disguise for the public that this price hike gained so much media coverage.
This is part of a bigger problem, that being there are secrets below the surface of drug companies that have an underlying premise of corporate greed, as opposed to focusing on the core purpose of drugs—to help the sick. And, although deemed immoral by some, Shkreli legally has done nothing wrong, and the FDA has no way to stop him since the FDA has no legal authority to investigate or control the prices charged for marketed drugs.
How do these pharmaceutical prices skyrocket, and how do moguls come to be?
- When a drug first comes to market, the pharmaceutical company that created it gets 20 years of manufacturing exclusivity
- Once that period expires, any firm can make or market the medication with a generic label
- Generic alternatives lower the overall worth of the drug through competition and competitive pricing
- Daraprim is the only drug of it’s kind, so there are no generics and perfect for startups like Turing to snag the rights and spike the price
And for the record, only around 2,000 people use the drug Daraprim.
“This is just a business strategy, this is not a pharmaceutical company strategy,” said del Rio of Turing’s decision to buy Daraprim’s exclusive rights and raise the prices. “This is a predatory strategy.”
The irony of this whole incident can be found in the Shkreli Foundation Mission Statement. “The Shkreli Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping people facing a variety of adversities. We are passionate about making charitable contributions to pioneering causes, especially within the medical community. One of the Foundation’s major goals is supporting those who raise awareness about unknown or underrepresented serious conditions.”
After undergoing a rough 48 hours of public fire, Shkreli announced he would lower the cost of the prescription.
“Yes it is absolutely a reaction — there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people,” Shkreli, 32, told NBC Tuesday.
Shkreli has not yet announced what the new cost of Daraprim will be.