The price of Daraprim (pyrimethamine), a drug that treats the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis and is used in some cases to treat cancer and AIDS, was raised from $13.50 to $750.00 per pill when sole rights to its sale in the United States were acquired last month by drug company Turing Pharmaceuticals. The news brought outrage from all corners, prompting the owner of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli, to announce that the price would be lowered—though he hasn’t said what its new price will be. The price hike is not unique to Daraprim, a drug which has been around for decades. How does it happen? Part of the problem is that there are individuals like Shkreli scouring the market for drugs like Daraprim that don’t have effective generic rivals (perhaps that market is too small for a generic drug maker to view it is profitable; perhaps, as in Daraprim’s case, there are unique issues surrounding the requirements for regulatory testing) or other factors that give the drug a lot of effective pricing power. The profit-minded individual or company snaps up the patents, suddenly hikes the drug’s price and puts consumers – from insurance companies to individuals – in a position of either paying… Read full this story
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