Pharmaceutical Corporations Raise Drug Prices 5,500% Overnight

Just a few years ago, Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug used to treat life-threatening parasitic infections, cost only around $1 per tablet. Every time the rights to it have been bought by a pharmaceutical corporation, this price has skyrocketed.

Martin Shkreli, the founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the rights to Daraprim in August. Overnight, his company raised the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.

The New York Times estimates the company’s “price increase could bring sales to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year if use remains constant.”

In other words, Shkreli, a 32-year-old ex-hedge funder with a history of financial malfeasance, is now making millions and millions of dollars off of sick and dying people.

Daraprim is incredibly important for people with HIV and AIDS. The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association condemned Turing Pharmaceuticals‘ price increase, calling it “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population” and “unsustainable for the health care system.”

This is not an isolated example. The New York Times notes that:

  • The company Rodelis Therapeutics increased the price of Cycloserine, a drug used to treat dangerous multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, from $500 to $10,800 for 30 pills.
  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals bought rights to two heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress, and promptly boosted the prices 525% and 212%, respectively.
  • Another corporation increased the price of the antibiotic Doxycycline from $20 in October 2013 to $1,849 a bottle by April 2014.

The newspaper also reports:

Dr. Aberg of Mount Sinai said some hospitals will now find Daraprim too expensive to keep in stock, possibly resulting in treatment delays. She said that Mount Sinai was continuing to use the drug, but each use now required a special review.

“This seems to be all profit-driven for somebody,” Dr. Aberg said, “and I just think it’s a very dangerous process.”

In the meantime, while the sick and dying cannot afford their life-saving medication, millionaire pharmaceutical corporate executive like Shkreli are enjoying themselves: