You Can Now Buy the Drug Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Hiked 5,000% for a Dollar

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical CEO who came to prominence after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, hiked the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim, finds himself under threat from a traditional ally: the free market.

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego-based compounding pharmaceutical company, announced it would sell a Daraprim competitor containing the same active ingredients, pyrimethamine and leucovorin. The company plans to sell a 100-capsule bottle for $99 or about 99 cents per pill, the Associated Press reported

As a compounding company, Imprimis does not develop new drugs but primarily repurposes products already on the market to suit individual prescriptions, for example, if the mass market version does not come in liquid form or in smaller dosages. According to CEO Mark Baum, the Daraprim spin-off is just the beginning.

"We are looking at all of these cases where the sole-source generic companies are jacking the price way up," Baum told the Associated Press. "There'll be many more of these" compounded drugs coming in the near future

And far from a charity case, Baum told Business Insider he expected to make "tremendous profit" with the new pricing.

Drug pricing exploded into the public consciousness after a New York Times exposé in September found that after his company acquired the rights to it in August, Shkreli raised the cost of Daraprim in a flash from $13.50 per tablet to $750. The drug is critical for treating toxoplasmosis, a rare and potentially life-threatening infection.

The reaction against Shkreli was swift with the Internet coalescing in a furious condemnation of the move. Both leading Democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, seized on the issue as well, with Sanders using his Senate perch to initiate a federal investigation, and Clinton going directly to the vox populi.

The controversy also spurred increased interest in Shkreli himself. In an exclusive for Mic, Eve Peyser wrote about her experience with him when they accidentally matched on the dating app Tinder. Others had a field day after Shkreli made a seemingly incongruous $2,700 donation to Sanders' presidential campaign — which Sanders promptly disavowed and donated to a Washington, D.C.-based health clinic.

Internet sleuths dug into Shkreli's past revealing a troubled history at a previous biotech company called Retrophin, where he also served as CEO. The company ultimately ousted Shkreli, accusing him of untoward personal gain and brought suit against him for $65 million. "Shkreli was the paradigm faithless servant," they wrote. "Starting sometime in early 2012, and continuing until he left the company, Shkreli used his control over Retrophin to enrich himself." 

"Shkreli was the paradigm faithless servant."

During another spat, Shkreli also repeatedly harassed Retrophin employee Timothy Pierotti and his family, telling his wife in a letter, "I hope to see you and your four children homeless and will do whatever I can to assure this."

After days of withering criticism, Shkreli announced he would lower the price of Daraprim by an unnamed amount at some point in the future; as of this writing, he has not done so. 

Mic reached out to Shkreli, who was unavailable for comment Friday morning.


Correction: Oct. 23, 2015
An earlier version of this article referred to Daraprim as an antibiotic. Daraprim is an antiparasitic and treats protozoal, not bacterial, infections.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jon Levine

Jon Levine is a staff writer at Mic, covering politics and people. He is based in New York and can be reached at JLevine@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.