Pricing Drugs

First we had Gilead’s Hep C drug that was priced at $94,500 for the standard length of treatment, average price $1,125 per pill. However, Gilead has offered steep discounts (up to 46% in 2015,up from 22 in 2014).

Now in the news is Turing Pharmaceutics, who’s CEO Martin Shkreli decided to increase the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to a whopping $750, an increase of 5,000%!

Martin Shkreli acquired Turing last month defended the cost increase because Daraprim had been underpriced.  His logic as quoted by Samantha Allen –   “The price per course of treatment to save your life was only $1000 and we know these days, [with] modern pharmaceuticals, cancer drugs can cost $100,000 or more, rare disease drugs can cost half a million dollars,” Shkreli said, as if it should be shocking that cheap, life-saving medicine could cost less than a laptop.

Of course when these things happen – politicians get involved.

As reported in BloombergBusiness Clinton tweeted “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” Clintontweeted at 10:56 a.m. “Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on.”

Biotechnology stocks fell after her comment. Clinton’s comment on Twitter sent the 144-member Nasdaq Biotechnology Index down 4.7 percent to 3,556.58 at 1:08 p.m. in New York, the biggest intraday drop since Aug. 24. Health-care stocks were the worst-performing subgroup on the broader Nasdaq index.

A similar experience was reported September 22, 2015 in the IBJ when Rodelis Therapeutics acquired the drug Cycloserine from Purdue’s Chao center in August 2015.  The price went from $20 to $360 per capsule.  However, Hasler said “”What they were doing was not what we thought was in the best interests of our patients,” and Chao reacquired the rights to the drug in September and reset the price to 35$/capsule.