Martin Shkreli has made the news with his announcement that he's raising the price of a drug that treats a rare disease-- Toxoplasmosis. The drug, pyrimethamine (brand name Daraprim) has been selling for $13.50 a dose. The average course of treatment uses 100 pills, for a cost of $1350.00.
Shkreli, a 32 year old hedge fund manager, is raising the price to $750. That would raise the price for treating a patient to $75,000.
In an interview on Bloomberg TV,
Shkreli stated that the drug had been producing revenues of five million dollars a year and that a course of treatment is usually about 100 pills (at the old price of $13.50 each). Doing the math, that works out to approximately 3700 patients. The price rise will shift revenues from five million dollars a year to more than $275 million.
The cost to make the Daraprim pills for 3700 patients is about $370,000.00. Shkreli argues that it costs more than the $5 million the drug was grossing to cover research, quality and safety
Shkreli says he wants to improve the drug, which takes research.
But the way I see it, he's taking advantage of a health care system that puts up with larcenous prices for drugs. If a company tried to to to this with a drug that hundreds of thousands or millions of people used, it might get blowback and pressure to back off. With only 3700 patients paying for the drug perhaps he didn't expect such an outcry. But there HAS been an outcry, certainly on Twitter.
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Skreli claims that his price rise will make the drug more available. Maybe. You could hire a delivery person for each patient with the $75,000 price tag. He argues that some people can't tolerate the drug and he want's to develop a better one.
But before the sh*t hit the fan, John Carroll writes in an article in FierceBiotech.com Should Martin Shkreli be allowed to play the Good Samaritan defense?
that Shkreli told him,
""It's a great business decision that also benefits all of our stakeholders," Shkreli told me on Twitter. "I don't expect the likes of you to process that." He then called me a moron, and later bragged about flipping off the media.
So there you have it. The unvarnished truth. It was a business decision. It was about money. And screw you."
This jumping in the pricing of generic drugs is a somewhat new development. It's happening for many drugs. This works for law of the jungle Libertarian neoliberal types who don't believe in any regulations. But it is predatory behavior that will raise the cost of healthcare for everyone.
Under George W. Bush, the congress passed a bill that prevented government orgs from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies. That was a disastrous, treacherous sellout of consumers. It is time to reverse that legislation.
I want to justify my calling Mr. Shkreli a psychopath.
1-His action is profoundly greedy and self-centered-- to aggrandize himself and his company.
2- He doesn't care that the added approximately $270 million a year in costs will be born by people and companies paying for healthcare. It is irresponsible and wreckless.
3-I don't believe his justifications. I think he's lying.
4-He is smooth and glib, another common trait of psychopaths.
5-he has a history and has been accused of past improprieties. Wikipedia reports
"Retrophin was created and run from the offices of MSMB Capital as a portfolio company with an emphasis on biotechnology, to create treatments for orphan diseases. Shkreli was fired by Retrophin's Board with Stephen Aselage being named as his replacement in September 2014. Retrophin filed a $65 million dollar lawsuit against Shkreli in August 2015, claiming he breached his duty of loyalty to the biopharmaceutical company in a long-running dispute over his use of company funds.
In September 2014 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 by obtaining these rights.
Shkreli was also criticized by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for the alleged manipulation of the US Food and Drug Administration's regulatory process in order to move stock prices for his own financial gain, though these allegations did not result in any charges.
On August 17, 2015, Retrophin filed suit against Shkreli seeking $65 million in damages."
But perhaps there's another clue where he got the idea to screw the public and exploit a profoundly malignant healthcare system:
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.
He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity scheduled for release May 22, 2019
He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites, OpEdNews.com
more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.