Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO says will cut price of Daraprim to be "more affordable"

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli said the company will lower the price of Daraprim (pyrimethamine) after a recent price rise, which saw the cost of the toxoplasmosis therapy jump from $13.50 a tablet to $750, was met with criticism. "We have agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable," Shkreli remarked, without disclosing further details.

Last month, Turing acquired US marketing rights to Daraprim from Impax Laboratories. In defending the subsequent price increase, Shkreli had argued it would have a minimal effect on the healthcare system because of the rare use of Daraprim, and also suggested the company would use the funds it generates to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis with fewer side effects (for related analysis, see Spotlight On: Shkreli's Turing risks ceding ground in public policy debate on drug pricing).

However, the move was met with wide-ranging criticism, including from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said it was time to address "outrageous" price gouging in the US specialty prescription drug market. Earlier this week, Clinton outlined plans to combat the rising cost of medicines, including proposals allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and capping out-of-pocket costs that insurers charge patients with chronic or serious health conditions (for related analysis, read ViewPoints: Assessing the risks to industry from Clinton's 'new' plan to combat rising drug prices).

Shkreli noted that the lower price of Daraprim will "allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit," adding that "I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people."

Commenting on the news, PhRMA pointed out that Turing is not one of its members and "does not represent the values of...member companies," adding that "we do not embrace either their recent actions or the conduct of their CEO."

For further analysis, see FirstWord Lists: Framing the US drug pricing debate – the key flashpoints.

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