Recently Turning Pharmaceuticals increased the price of Daraprim, (a drug used to fight parasite infections) overnight from $13.50 a pill to $750.00 a pill. Thus, a 30-day supply went from $405 to $22,500 a year for a drug that is 62-years-old.
Martin Shkreli, Turning’s chief executive officer, said they would reduce the cost of the drug due to the public outcry. I believe, as I write this post, this has yet to occur.
Turning isn’t the only company rewarding itself and its investors in this manner. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International also purchases prescription drugs and then, increases their prices. Some examples:
- Cuprimine (Wilson disease)—from $888 for a hundred 250 mg capsules to $26,189.
- Glumetza (diabetes)—from $896 for ninety 1,000 mg tablets to $10,020.
- Isuprel (irregular or slow heart beat)—from $4,489 for twenty-five 0.2 ml ampules to $36,811.
Valeant and Turning were not involved in the research and/or development of these drugs; therefore, they didn’t incur any R&D costs. They just bought these medications and raised the prices. Why is Gordon Gekko’s line “greed is good” sticking in my mind?
Certain politicians have spoken out, and some are calling for Valeant to be subpoenaed for information regarding their price increases and rightly so.
The health and life of individuals depend on these medications, and such extreme increases jeopardize their wellbeing. For example, one man on Cuprimine saw his out of pocket costs for the drug increase from $366 a month to approximately $1,800 a month—a rise from $4,392 a year to $21,600 a year.
Could you handle such an increase? What would you have to give up in order to pay for the prescription? What would happen if you have to stop taking the drug because you couldn’t afford it? Valeant does talk about insurance coverage as well as financial assistance programs to enable individuals to have access to their drugs. Unfortunately, such assistance isn’t guaranteed.
Currently, we are being inundated with candidates running for president; I don’t know if you have a favorite. If you do, try to find out where he or she stands on this issue, because it reflects on where they would stand on other issues as well as whose interests they truly care for and support.
For more information please read the Andrew Pollack and Sabrina Tavernise article I used for the information contained in this blog or you can also conduct your own research. Thank you.