Turing Pharmaceuticals, 2 Others Investigated by U.S. Senate
November 2, 2015 Leave a comment
Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drug company that hiked the price of a necessary, life-saving drug by an astounding 5,000% earlier this year, is being investigated by the Senate Special Committee on Aging, who are looking into the pricing of non-patented drugs. Two other drug companies, Valeant and Retrophin and Rodelis Therapeutics, will also be investigated.
The committee will investigate Turing’s “acquisition of the rights to sell Daraprim,” a drug necessary for some to fight a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. The drug is especially crucial for cancer and AIDS patients. Daraprim used to sell for $13.50 a pill; since Turing’s acquisition of it, the drug now sells at $750 a pill.
Several weeks ago Turing CEO Martin Shkreli said that he would lower the price of Daraprim, but no change in price has yet been seen. The committee has requested the identity of the Turing employee responsible for choosing the drug’s price.
Like Turing, Valeant Pharmaceuticals significantly changed the price of the Cuprimine drug that treats an inherent disorder responsible for liver and nerve damage: the drug used to cost patients about $366, and now costs them $1,800 a month out-of-pocket. The New York Times writes, “Cuprimine is just one of many Valeant drugs whose prices have spiked as part of the company’s concerted strategy, which has richly rewarded its investors and made it one of Wall Street’s most popular health stocks.”
Retrophin and Rodelis, another drug company that operated under Shkreli’s supervision, will also be investigated for its change of drug Thiola’s price. Thiola is used for patients with cystinuria, a painful and dangerous disease that affects kidneys and that has no cure. Originally, Thiola cost patients $1.50 a pill. After Retrophin acquired its rights, the price rocketed to $30 for the same medication.
Lashing out against Shkreli and other drug companies has been a focal point in several campaigns for those currently running for present: Hillary Clinton asked that Turing and other price-hiking companies be investigated, and Bernie Sanders rejected a campaign donation from Shkreli.