Back

Hedge fund investor increases life saving drug 50 fold


23/09/2015

Martin Shkreli, a hedge fund investor caused a global outcry after his company acquired the rights to produce a life saving drug then increased its price more than 50 fold. Daraprim, known generically as pyrimethamine is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection that can be potentially fatal in those with weakened immune systems, such as unborn babies, people with HIV and some cancers.

His firm, Turing Pharmaceuticals has been criticised for the move which increases the cost of treatment from $13.50 per pill to $750. With healthcare professionals warning that the price increase could force many hospitals to use alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy. In a joint letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the HIV Medicine Association called the price increase “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population”

Mr Shkreli defended his decision stating that “Daraprim is still under-priced relative to its peers” he said that his company will ensure that poor people could still have access to the drug by giving the drug for free to those who couldn’t afford it. Mr Shkreli states that his company will reinvest the profits into research “we are spending tens of millions of dollars on making a better version of Daraprim-one that is more effective, less toxic”