When Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals purchased the rights to a live saving drug needed by many AIDS and cancer patients, he immediately raised the price of Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent.
Shkreli promised to lower the price of Daraprim to an undefined amount shortly after his price hike was uncovered by the media and public outrage grew against his company. Weeks after his promise, Daraprim’s $750 a pill price tag remains unchanged.
This week, a specialty drug company has announced that they can offer a cheaper alternative to compete with Turing’s controversial pill which fights parasitic infections.
San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals says it can make a close, customized version of Daraprim for about $1 a pill.
“While we respect Turing’s right to charge patients and insurance companies whatever it believes is appropriate, there may be more cost-effective compounded options for medications, such as Daraprim, for patients, physicians, insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers to consider,” Imprimis CEO Mark Baum said in a statement.
“This is not the first time a sole supply generic drug — especially one that has been approved for use as long as Daraprim — has had its price increased suddenly and to a level that may make it unaffordable,” Baum said.
“In response to this recent case and others that we will soon identify, Imprimis is forming a new program called Imprimis Cares which is aligned to our corporate mission of making novel and customizable medicines available to physicians and patients today at accessible prices,” Baum said.
NBC News adds:
Imprimis says its drug, which would have to be compounded to order, has something extra called leucovorin.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pyrimethamine works to block folic acid synthesis in the parasite T. gondii, the cause of toxoplasmosis, and leucovorin helps to reverse the negative effects on bone marrow caused by this mechanism of action,” the company said.
“Imprimis is now offering customizable compounded formulations of pyrimethamine and leucovorin in oral capsules starting as low as $99.00 for a 100 count bottle, or at a cost of under a dollar per capsule. Compounded medications may be appropriate for prescription when a commercially-available medicine does not meet the specific needs of a patient.”