The CEO of a company which grossly raised the price of a life-saving drug used by AIDs and cancer patients is under scrutiny for reportedly inflating the cost of a medicine for a rare kidney disease at a previous firm.
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli sparked an angry backlash this week when it emerged the price of Daraprim – a drug used to treat a deadly parasitic infection – had been raised by 5,500%.
This increased the price of each pill from $13.50 to $750.
Following an international uproar – including criticism from Hillary Clinton who called the move “outrageous” - Shkreli told ABC News on Tuesday the drug would be re-priced to make it more affordable, though he did not immediately say how much it would be.
Now it has emerged that during Shkreli’s term as CEO and founder of pharmaceutical company Retrophin, it acquired the rights to sell Thiola, used to treat cystinuria, a rare, incurable condition which causes persistent and painful kidney stones.
Sufferers can require between five and ten of the tablets a day, the Independent reports.
In a report from September last year, Reuters writes: “Shkreli said on a conference call after the deal that the drug, Thiola, then sold for $4,000 a year per patient, would be priced closer to rival drug penicillamine, which costs $80,000 to $140,000.”
Writing for Forbes, Steve Brozak claimed Retrophin had bloated the price of a $1.50 tablet to $30 a tablet, representing a nearly 2,000% increase.
He added: “Keep in mind that Retrophin hasn’t hasn’t conducted any new trials, made any new claims about the drug, changed its formulation or delivery mechanism. As the only supplier of the drug to the U.S., Retrophin has increased the price for the drug just because it can.”