CEO BACKTRACKS ON MASSIVE DRUG PRICE HIKE

By Cokie Thompson, WVUA 23 Staff

Turing Pharmaceuticals has reversed course after raising the price of an important drug more than 5,000 percent.

CEO Martin Shkreli spoke to ABC on Tuesday after initially refusing to lower the price.

“We’ve agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit, and we think these changes will be welcomed,” Shkreli said.

The drug, Daraprim, treats a parasitic infection, which can be deadly for people with suppressed immune systems, such as AIDS and cancer patients.

Turing recently raised the price of that drug from a little over $13 to $750 per pill.

The HIV Medicine Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America called the increase “unjustifiable.”

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said this is not uncommon.

“You’ve got a situation where this person basically has a drug that is widely needed, and he can charge whatever he wants to charge,” Gupta said.

CEO Martin Shkreli told CBS much of the drug would be given away to people who can’t afford to pay the hefty price, and profits would be reinvested into improving the 70-year-old drug.

“One of the things that happens in these situations is that the manufacturers say, ‘We’re taking this money, and we’re putting it directly into research and development, these extra dollars,’” Gupta said. “Now, whether or not this is happening, that is a very hard thing to look at. It’s a very hard thing to oversee.”

The question that’s left is just how affordable will the drug be?

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