Recently, Turing Pharmaceuticals enlarged the price of Daraprim, a lifetime drug which is prescribed to treat toxoplasmosis, an infectious disease. Over the weekend the drug price rose violently from $13.50 to $750. As a result, a massive protest immediately emerged – Martin Shkreli, Drug CEO, decided to lower the price on Tuesday.

“Yes it is absolutely a reaction, there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action. I think that it makes sense to lower price in response to the anger that was felt by people.” Drug CEO told NBC.

Martin Shkreli DRUG CEO. Credit: NBCnews

Despite Shkreli’s support of the decision to adjust Daraprim’s price, he decided to lower the price due to the discomfort reaction from the people. During the last days, several guilds such as specialists in infectious disease like toxoplasmosis came out to protest against the company’s action.

“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?,The price increase could force hospitals to use alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The New York Times reported.

However, a new price has not been established. Shkreli said the company’s final decision, regarding to the new price, will be announced over the next few weeks. However, Shkreli explained that the new price will drop to a level where Turing Pharmaceuticals will break even or make a small profit out of the drug.

Daraprim is a drug used to fight against toxoplasmosis – a disease caused by toxoplasmas which is transmitted mostly through undercooked meat, the infection can be dangerous for people whom defenses are low. Also, for pregnant women because it can affect unborn children. It is also used to treat malaria,  according to the CDC.

Explaining Turing’s decision

Nevertheless, the Drug CEO explained that Turing would have used the money to improve toxoplasmosis treatments. Shrinkle said that they wanted to create a better solution for the disease with fewer side effects. They were also planning to make an investment in marketing and education tools in order to make people more aware of toxoplasmosis disease.

Credit: RS

“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business. Many patients use the drug for far less than a year and the price is now more in line with those of other drugs for rare diseases.” Mr.Shkreli stated, as NBC reported.

Mr. Shkreli also expressed his feelings by saying that we live in a society that constantly wants to villainize people, and that obviously in an election periods the medical topic is very tough and sensitive for everyone. However, he said he understand the outrage that was originated after the announcement.

Additionally, if the price had been maintained as it was first planned by Turing, the annual cost of the treatment for toxoplasmosis patients, only with the pill, would be $336,000 for patients who weigh less than 60 kg and $634,500 for patients who weigh more, according to the HIV Medicine Association.

Source: The New York Times