After recently promising that his company would soon lower the price of a drug known as Daraprim, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli reversed his decision, saying that the decades-old drug will not receive a price reduction by the end of the year. Earlier this year, the price of the old medication increased more than 5000% from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.
Rather than decreasing the price of Daraprim, Shkreli said that his company would offer up to 50% discounts for hospitals, and they would also make other adjustments to help patients afford the drug. Daraprim is most commonly used to treat parasitic infections, and it is often given to HIV patients.
Turing Pharmaceuticals Chief Commercial Officer Nancy Retzlaff said, “We pledge that no patient needing Daraprim will ever be denied access. Drug pricing is one of the most complex parts of the healthcare industry. A drug’s list price is not the primary factor in determining patient affordability and access.”
Earlier this month, the pharmaceutical company had promised to modestly reduce prices. This was after the company received heavy criticism for its original price increase. At the time of the promise, the CEO was indecisive about how much exactly the price would decrease.
Although the price isn’t being reduced, the company will include more measures of financial savings, such as smaller bottles with fewer tablets. This will help hospitals in stocking the medicine. Additionally, the company will also offer free samples, and they will limit copayments to a maximum of $10 for every prescription to commercially insured patients. Also, uninsured patients who are 500% or more below the federal poverty level will be able to obtain the drug for free.
Still, most people are outraged by the broken promise. AIDS activist Tim Horn said that these cost-reducing methods were little more than “lipstick on a pig”. Turing is currently being investigated by lawmakers for its alleged practice of price gouging.