Ex-Hedge Funder Buys Rights To AIDS Drug, Raises Price Over 5000%

Medicine as Money - A depiction of a pill stuffed with money, (Global Health Renegade)

Medicine as Money – A depiction of a pill stuffed with money, (Global Health Renegade)

Ex-Hedge Funder Buys Rights To AIDS Drug, Raises Price Over 5000%

Ex-Hedge Fund Manager Martin Shkreli is in hot water after an overnight hike in the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 per pill.

The price change comes after Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up whose main investors include Mr. Shkreli, purchased the rights to the drug in a $55 million bid.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association sent a joint letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals earlier this month calling the price increase on Daraprim “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population” and “unsustainable for the health care system.”

Shkreli claims that raising the drug’s price is necessary for his new company to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis, but many doctors call the claims hollow as the side effects for Daraprim are manageable and there is currently no “clamoring” for a substitute.

Medicaid and certain hospitals will be able to get the drug inexpensively under federal rules for discounts and rebates, but private insurers, Medicare and hospitalized patients would have to pay closer to the list price; a price that some are saying to total in the hundreds of thousands annually.

An image of former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli who raised price of AIDS drug by 5000%, (Bloomberg)

An image of former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, (Bloomberg)

Having started his own hedge fund company, Retrophrin LLC, while still in his 20’s, this isn’t the first time Mr. Shkreli has been in hot water regarding questionable business practices. In July 20012, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called for an investigation of Shkreli and others whom it charged were “manipulating the prices of drug company stocks through blog posts intended to spread negative and purportedly misleading information about certain drugs.”

Another incident in September 2014 found Mr. Skhreli again in the midst of controversy when his company Retrophin acquired the rights to Thiola, a drug used to treat the rare disease cystinuria. It was with Shkreli as CEO that Retrophin introduced a 20-fold price increase for Thiola, despite no additional research and development costs incurred.

Does Turing Pharmaceuticals’ recent announcement in price hikes sound like jà vu to you?

What do you think about this latest drama in for-profit medicine? Do you think this is fair? Join in the conversation. Comment below, share on Facebook, and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk.

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W D King


Walter king is a sushi enthusiast. A cat lover. A star gazer. An ex-skateboarder, with the destroyed knees to prove it. A local boy raised in Hawaii. He spent much of his youth listening to art bell, infecting his brain with all matter of gray area thought provoking ideas like time travel, collective consciousness, and who can forget: Bigfoot. He's a loving husband and first time father. A movie junkie. A cliff diving, mud slinging, midday dreamer. He also kind of dabbles in indie film production, music production, and photography. He is survived by his unflinching whit and dry sense of humor.

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