NEW YORK -- A former hedge fund manager has defended his decision mark up a life-saving drug used by children and AIDS patients by more than 5,000 percent.
After acquiring the rights to Daraprim, Martin Shkreli’s startup company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, increased the price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill, according to the New York Times.
Daraprim was developed in the 1940s and combats toxoplasmosis, an infection that can arise in children because of poor immune systems, as well as patients suffering from AIDS and some form of cancers.
After an outcry by medial organisations on Sunday, Shkreli defended his decision by claiming the profit the company would make on Daraprim would help it develop even better drugs in the future.
However, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association penned a joint letter to Shkreli telling him the increase was “unjustifiable for the medically-vulnerable patient population.”
On Monday, Shkreli appeared on CNBC saying the drug was currently underpriced. “At this price, Daraprim is still on the low end of what drugs costs,” he said. “And we’re certainly not the first company to raise drug prices.”
“Turing is a very small company, it’s a new company and we’re not a profitable company,” Shkreli added. “So for us to try to exist and maintain a profit, I think is pretty reasonable.”
The former hedge funder admitted that the drug costs “very little” to manufacture.