Turing CEO Martin Shkreli made headlines this week when he hiked the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer patients fighting life-threatening parasitic infections, by more than 5,000%, from $13.50 to $750 a tablet literally overnight. (The tablets cost approximately $1 each to produce.)
“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients,” he told the New York Times. “It is us trying to stay in business.”
Shkreli’s price hike quickly became the focus of public anger and also caught the eye of Hillary Clinton who tweeted about it Monday, saying she wanted to put an end to drug “price gouging.”
The Daily Beast joined several media outlets in declaring Shkreli the “most-hated man in America.”
After a day of public outcry, the 32-year-old ex-hedge-funder has agreed to lower the price of Daraprim.
“We’ve agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a price that is more affordable,” Shkreli said on ABC World News Tonight. He did not say what the new “affordable” price would be.
“Yes, it is absolutely a reaction,” Shkreli told NBC News. “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.”
He continued: “It’s very easy to see a large drug price increase and say ‘Gosh, those people must be gouging.’ But when you find out that the company is not really making any money, what does that mean?”
“I think in the society we live in today it’s easy to want to villainize people,” he said. “Obviously, we’re in an election cycle where this is very, very tough topic for people and it’s very sensitive. And I understand the outrage.”
“We’ll know in several weeks how profitable the drug is, if it at all,” he said. “It may turn out that’s it not even profitable at all, even at this price.”
Think Progress adds:
He is also named in a civil suit alleging he harassed a co-worker and his family, according to court documents uncovered by Gawker.
Shkreli also removed his Twitter account, which he has been using to mock his critics, from public view.
Another company, Rodelis Therapeutics, was forced to roll back a 20-fold increase on the price of a tuberculosis drug after public outcry.