After tremendous public backlash, Turing Pharmaceuticals has decided to rollback what would have been a more than 5,000% price increase on a life-saving drug for those with compromised immune systems.
Unpopular CEO backs down
Turing Pharma had plans to raise the price per pill for Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 when they obtained the patent on this 62-year old medicine. The drug is used by those with cancer, HIV and even pregnant women. But CEO Martin Shkreli — a former Wall Street hedge fund manager type — did horribly in the press trying to defend his company’s increase. And now the company has agreed to back down, though they’re not saying where the price will settle.
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This has already become a big issue on the campaign trail. You had Hillary Clinton calling for price control on meds with a strict price cap on how much anyone should spend each month. That’s how it’s done in the rest of the world. But that’s also why there’s no money for research and development anywhere else except in the United States! So I am opposed to a price cap of this kind.
But when Wall Street people go looking for orphan meds — where there’s one kind of treatment done by one company only, as in the case of Daraprim — specifically to buy them so they can milk those who need the drugs to stay alive, well that’s unconscionable…and there may need to be legislation of some type. Come up with something useful to do, Wall Street!
Meanwhile, there was a recent Wall Street Journal article about a move in the U.S. to lower drug prices through something called biosimilars. Simply put, that’s a drug that’s more affordable than the dominant player in the market and it’s chemically exact in its structure. These things will be a very important part of the future of medicine, even though traditionalist are nervous or opposed to biosimilars.
If you are a doctor, a lot of the meds you’re writing now are things that patients won’t be able to afford. And they may die for lack of medication. So why not write a script for a biosimilar that costs 1/20 to develop and could be a completely life-saving event?
As a patient, the next time you’re with a doctor, if there is a medicine you are prescribed that you can not afford, ask for a biosimilar!
For more info for your wallet, see our Health section!