Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug used mainly to treat toxoplasmosis, has become the latest drug to experience a drastic price increase. Turing Pharmaceuticals, a startup company started by a former hedge fund manager, Martin Shkreli, acquired the drug in August and raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. Daraprim is considered the standard of care drug for toxoplasmosis, but is also used to treat patients that have compromised immune systems, such as AIDS and cancer patients. The price gouge is the latest in a series of seemingly arbitrary drug cost changes that has caused uproar in the medical community.
Shkreli argues that Daraprim is a rarely used drug and that the effect of the price change will be minimal, going on to say that the revenue generated from the price increase will be used to develop new drugs for toxoplasmosis with fewer side effects. This is not the first time that Shkreli has applied this tactic. Shkreli started a similar company in 2011, Retrophin, that bought up older drugs and raised the price. Retrophin fired Shkreli last year and has filed a complaint with the Federal District Court in Manhattan regarding his practices.