The plan of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli to drastically increase the price of an old medication appears to have backfired. While the CEO received an extremely large amount of public backlash for the move, at least he was making an extremely large amount of money. But now that looks to be crashing down, as two other companies have announced that they will join forces to start producing the drug in question at much cheaper rates than Turing.
Originally, Shkreli’s company increased the price of Daraprim from $18 to $750 overnight. Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis in people with weakened immune systems, particularly people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Being the only company that produced Daraprim, Turing Pharmaceuticals had an undisputed monopoly over the medication.
Now, Express Scripts and Imprimis Pharmaceuticals have announced that they plan on teaming up to create a cheaper alternative. The medication that will be produced by the duo will cost as little as $1 per capsule. The companies have stated that they plan to start processing prescriptions for the drug as early as this week.
Additionally, the two companies have said that they plan to start working with the Infectious Disease Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association in order to educate physicians about the Daraprim alternative. The companies want to share their science with others so that larger groups of patients will be able to access the inexpensive medication.
Chief medical officer for Express Scripts Steve Miller said, “Leveraging our expertise to improve access and affordability to an important medication is the right thing to do for HIV patients. We believe we now have an extremely cost-effective way to provide access to a Daraprim alternative."
Imprimis Pharmaceuticals CEO Mark L. Baum added, “We are pleased to partner with Express Scripts to take positive action to counterbalance companies like Turing and others in order to address the growing drug pricing crisis in America.”
Last month, a Senate committee began an investigation into drug price increases from Turing, as well as three other pharmaceutical companies. The other companies are Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin Inc. and Rodelis Therapeutics.