A former hedge fund financier has stirred Internet outrage after purchasing the rights to a drug used for treating AIDS patients and hiking the prices overnight by a whopping 5500% from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Martin Shkreli, who is a former hedge fund manager and the current CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the rights to Daraprim over a month ago for $55 million and has now changed the prices in an atrocious manner.
Since the announcement, the 32-year-old former wolf of Wall Street has received severe backlash from every corner, especially considering that the drug is used to treat a life-threatening infection and is majorly depended on by AIDS patients including infants who are already struggling with the dangerous disease.
However, in his always-defiance stance, Shkreli told reporters that the price hike was to keep his company in business and turn a profit on the drug. He did not care, not for a second that the bizarre price hike would not only cost more lives, but would have AIDS patients spending thousands of dollars annually to afford the 62-year-old drug, which costs around $1 to produce.
Justifying his company’s disgraceful move to hike the prices, Shkreli went on to say that AIDS patients use the Daraprim drug for less than 12 months and the new price was just in line with any other drug used to treat such rare diseases. He went on to suggest that the decision was a great business move that would not only benefit his company, but all the stakeholders in the industry.
Critics have been on Shkreli’s neck for his controversial business move with many pointing out that this illogical decision would put many babies and people with compromised immune systems including AIDS and cancer patients at high risk. For instance, a heated exchange ensued between Fierce Biotech editor John Carroll and Shkreli, who did not properly justify his company’s move, but rather chose to call Carroll a ‘moron who is irrelevant and doesn’t think logically’. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also weighed on the matter strongly criticizing the price hike and even calling it ‘outrageous’.
While many people are urging Shkreli to rethink the new pricing structure to this important drug, it remains to be seen what action would be taken against Shkreli, considering that he had been forced out of the last drug company he founded, Retrophin, just for the same reason, buying important drugs and increasing their prices absurdly.