NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 8:54 PM
@MartinShkreli via Twitter
Hedge Fund Manager Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals raises the price on the drug Daraprim from $ 13 to $ 750.
Michael Graae/For New York Daily News
Martin Shkreli in his offices at 101 6th Ave in Manhattan on March 9, 2015. Shkreli donated $ 1 million to Hunter College High School, the largest individual gift in the school’s history.(Michael Graae for New York Daily News)
An ex-hedge funder turned pharmaceutical CEO has caved to nationwide outrage over his decision to raise the price of a drug used to protect AIDs and cancer patients by 5,000%.
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli announced Tuesday that he’ll reduce the pill’s $ 750 cost — one hiked from $ 13.50 — but would not specify by how much.
“We’ve agreed to lower the price on Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit,” he told ABC News. “We think these changes will be welcomed.”
The drug is the only FDA-approved treatment for toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can prove deadly, especially to those with compromised immune systems — such as those with AIDs, cancer or who are pregnant.
Rights to the tablets, which cost about $ 1 to produce, were acquired by the New York and Switzerland based company last month leading to a hike that was deemed “unjustifiable” and “unsustainable” by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Daraprim, which cost about $ 1 to produce, was acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals last month leading to a 5,000-percent price hike.
In an earlier interview with NBC News, Shkreli said “we definitely planned on raising the price” after its purchase.
“We paid a very, very large amount to buy an unprofitable medicine. We can’t continue to make, to lose money on the drug at that price so we took it to a price where we can make a comfortable profit but not any kind of ridiculous profit,” he said.
Shkreli further defended that the profits were necessary for creating a bigger, safer version of the same drug that was first approved by the FDA in 1953.
When asked if he didn’t expect to receive such backlash over the exorbitant price tag, he said it depended on if anyone was paying attention.
Daraprim is a common treatment used to fight toxoplasmosis, its parasite seen, which afflicts pregnant women, cancer and AIDS patients.
“There have been must larger drug increases by much larger drug companies,” he said.
Shkreli’s about-face comes after Hillary Clinton personally accused him of “price gouging” and some members of the media labeled him “Big Pharma’s Biggest A–hole.”
“Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on,” Clinton tweeted out before indeed vowing to cap out-of-pocket prescription costs at $ 250 per month if she’s elected president.
Upon hearing news of his reversal Tuesday, the White House contender issued one word on Twitter: “good.”
A Philadelphia punk band that had received indirect funding from him through their Brooklyn record label also expressed disgust with Shkreli’s actions and vowed to go on a record strike as long as he’s involved with the label.
“Nothing” frontman Domenic Palermo said Shkreli was initially only described to him as “an old Thursday fan that wanted to give back to the music and arts.”
Upon learning his identity, he called Shkreli’s price-hike “the work of a soulless man” in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“I’m not sure what the next step is here for us as we’re contractually attached to this person, but I had to share my revulsion with you all as the future is not quite foreseeable,” he told his fans.
Shkreli’s donations also include a $ 1 million gift to his New York City public high school in March.
A request for comment from Turing Pharmaceuticals was not immediately returned to the Daily News.