Turing to roll back pricing for Daraprim amid controversy

CNBC – by Phil Helsel, NBC

The pharmaceutical company boss under fire from Hillary Clinton and many others for jacking up the price of the drug Daraprim 5,000 percent overnight said Tuesday he will lower the cost of the life-saving drug.

Martin Shkreli did not say what the new price would be but expected a determination to be made over the next few weeks.

He told NBC News that the decision to lower the price was a reaction to outrage over the increase in the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

“Yes it is absolutely a reaction — there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people,” Shkreli said, 32.

Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York bought the drug from Impax Laboratories in August for $55 million and raised the price. Shkreli said the price would return to $13.50 in a few weeks.

Daraprim fights toxoplasmosis, which infects people whose immune systems have been weakened by AIDS, chemotherapy and pregnancy, according to the Center of Disease Control.

Shkreli, the founder and CEO of Turing, has said the money from the increase would be used to develop better treatment for toxoplasmosis that have fewer side effects.

“It’s very easy to see a large drug price increase and say ‘Gosh those people must be gouging,’ but when you find out the company is not making any money, what does that mean?” Shkreli said in a phone interview with NBC News Tuesday. “It’s very hard stuff to understand.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was among those who expressed outrage over the price increase. She called it “price gouging” and on Tuesday outlined a plan she said would limit how much patients are have to pay out of pocket for medications each month.

“And I think in the society we live in today it is easy to want to villainize people, and obviously we are in an election cycle where this is very tough topic for people and very sensitive. And I understand the outrage,” Shkreli said.

Shkreli said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he planned to “set the record straight on misconceptions and announce some adjustments to our plan.”

He planned to make his Twitter account private after that.


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