The life saving drug Daraprim has been raised from $13.50 to $750 practically overnight by Touring Pharmaceuticals. The company purchased the rights of the 62-year-old drug and instituted a 5000 percent increase in the price. The company’s actions made Martin Shkreli, CEO of Touring, one of the most hated figures in America.
Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, which can dangerously affect patients with weakened immune systems from HIV and other conditions such as cancer. Shkreli is beating money out of people who are already drowning in medical bills. He is taking advantage of sick and dying patients and their families because they will have to buy the drug out of desperation. There was talk about boycotting the drug, but doing so would only hurt those who need it.
Shkreli justifies his actions by claiming he will use the money to fund research to make the drug more effective. He claims to be a man of the future by charging dying patients hundreds of dollars for a daily medication because they need it to survive. How noble of him. I’m no ethics professor, but this just isn’t right. His claim has even less merit because he has hiked prices on drugs before.
According to an article in The Independent, Touring Pharmaceuticals also bought the rights to a drug called Thiola, which is used to treat a kidney disease called cystinuria. The company increased the price of Thiola by 2000 percent. Cystinuria is a rare condition beginning in childhood, stones made from the amino acid cystine form in the kidney, ureter, and blatter. Some with this ailment will take this medicine their whole lives, and Shkreli takes advantage of their situation to make a profit.
Shkreli isn’t the only one cashing in on sick and suffering patients. The Business Insider reports that several other medications have also had their prices hiked after their rights were purchased by new companies. Some of these medications would include Doxycycline, Isuprel, and Nitropress.
These companies can set the prices at whatever they want because there is no competition in the market. The drugs like Daraprim don’t have a high enough demand for generic brands to make them. This situation results in a monopoly over the drug, so whoever owns the rights can set the price, which hurts those who need it.
After the articles were written about the companies that hiked their prices, those companies went about lowering their prices. Shkreli has even said that prices will be lowered after the outburst following his price hike because of the hit it took to Touring Pharmaceuticals’ stock prices.
These companies’ actions to lower prices after being exposed shows their guilt in the matter. They are just in it for the money. Even if they were using the profits to research the drugs, they should not take the money from the already suffering patients who have enough medical expenses to pay already. It’s important for them to realize that people’s lives depend on this drug.
I am hopeful that the exposure of these cruel moneymaking methods will stop similar situations in the future. Political figures such as Hillary Clinton have already announced plans to stop this practice, and other organizations hiking prices are being targeted. The future of pharmaceutical practice in America is beginning to change because of this incident, and hopefully it will change for the better. ◼︎