Douchebro Hedge Fund Manager, Hikes AIDS treatment pill's price from $13.50 to $750 (UPDATE: ARRESTED for securities fraud, DUMPED as CEO, LOSES a fortune)

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    Sep 21, 2015 6:04 PM GMT
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    "Capitalism! Jeah!" icon_evil.gif

    Death and TaxesMeet Martin Shkreli. He’s a hedge fund manager, the founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, and according to the New York Times, he just raised the price of a generic lifesaving pill from $13.50 to $750.

    The drug, Daraprim, is used to treat parasitic infections in babies and AIDS patients, and has been available for 62 years. In August, Turing purchased it and immediately jacked up the price. Suck it, babies!

    In his own defense, the 32-year-old claimed that the profits from the increased price would allow his company to develop new treatments, which is utter bullshit.

    “This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” he told the Times. But really, if the continued existence of your company hinges on gouging dying babies and AIDS patients, maybe you should just quit and then burn down your building and then jump off a fucking cliff into a river of sewage, rather than becoming a cartoonish supervillain.

    After the story broke, Shkreli took to Twitter to defend himself by quoting Eminem, further demonstrating that he’s every bit a monster as you’d expect him to be.


    I dunno how Slim he is, but he's most definitely Shady!

    https://twitter.com/MartinShkreli/status/645783632834076672

    Martin "When in Doubt, Quote Eminem" Shkreligenius.com/Eminem-the-way-i-am-lyrics …

    "And it seems like the media immediately points a finger at me

    So I point one back at em, but not the index or pinkie"


    Yeah, he'd better Lose Himself. icon_razz.gif

    It's not his first time being a drug-price gouger, either.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Shkreli

    WikiIn September 2014 Retrophin acquired the rights to thiola, a drug used to treat the rare disease cystinuria. It was with Shkreli as CEO that Retrophin introduced a 20-fold price increase for Thiola, despite no additional research and development costs incurred by obtaining these rights.


    The CREW crew has been after Shkreli for a minute, at least since 2012...

    http://www.citizensforethics.org/legal-filings/entry/us-attorney-investigate-short-seller-martin-shkreli

    CPcFgXCWUAAr4MR.png:large

    Very likely, there's a Turing turning over in his grave as we speak...
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    Sep 21, 2015 6:32 PM GMT
    Here's a more fair-minded NYTimes article on Shkreli's gambit.

    Andrew Pollack (NY Times)“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She said the price increase could force hospitals to use “alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.”

    Turing’s price increase is not an isolated example. While most of the attention on pharmaceutical prices has been on new drugs for diseases like cancer, hepatitis C and high cholesterol, there is also growing concern about huge price increases on older drugs, some of them generic, that have long been mainstays of treatment.

    Although some price increases have been caused by shortages, others have resulted from a business strategy of buying old neglected drugs and turning them into high-priced “specialty drugs.”

    Cycloserine, a drug used to treat dangerous multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, was just increased in price to $10,800 for 30 pills from $500 after its acquisition by Rodelis Therapeutics. Scott Spencer, general manager of Rodelis, said the company needed to invest to make sure the supply of the drug remained reliable. He said the company provided the drug free to certain needy patients.

    In August, two members of Congress investigating generic drug price increases wrote to Valeant Pharmaceuticals after that company acquired two heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress, from Marathon Pharmaceuticals and promptly raised their prices by 525 percent and 212 percent respectively.

    Marathon had acquired the drugs from another company in 2013 and had quintupled their prices, according to the lawmakers, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland.

    Doxycycline, an antibiotic, went from $20 a bottle in October 2013 to $1,849 by April 2014, according to the two lawmakers.

    Daraprim, known generically as pyrimethamine, is used mainly to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection that can cause serious or even life-threatening problems for babies born to women who become infected during pregnancy, and also for people with compromised immune systems, like AIDS patients and certain cancer patients.

    Martin Shkreli, the founder and chief executive of Turing, said that the drug is so rarely used that the impact on the health system would be minuscule and that Turing would use the money it earns to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis, with fewer side effects.

    “This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” Mr. Shkreli said. He said that many patients use the drug for far less than a year and that the price was now more in line with those of other drugs for rare diseases.

    “This is still one of the smallest pharmaceutical products in the world,” he said. “It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this.”


    Heck, seemingly everybody else has been getting away with it!

    NY TimesDaraprim, which is also used to treat malaria, was approved by the F.D.A. in 1953 and has long been made by GlaxoSmithKline. Glaxo sold United States marketing rights to CorePharma in 2010. Last year, Impax Laboratories agreed to buy Core and affiliated companies for $700 million. In August, Impax sold Daraprim to Turing for $55 million, a deal announced the same day Turing said it had raised $90 million from Mr. Shkreli and other investors in its first round of financing.

    Daraprim cost only about $1 a tablet several years ago, but the drug’s price rose sharply after CorePharma acquired it. According to IMS Health, which tracks prescriptions, sales of the drug jumped to $6.3 million in 2011 from $667,000 in 2010, even as prescriptions held steady at about 12,700. In 2014, after further price increases, sales were $9.9 million, as the number of prescriptions shrank to 8,821. The figures do not include inpatient use in hospitals.

    Turing’s price increase could bring sales to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year if use remains constant. Medicaid and certain hospitals will be able to get the drug inexpensively under federal rules for discounts and rebates. But private insurers, Medicare and hospitalized patients would have to pay an amount closer to the list price.

    Some doctors questioned Turing’s claim that there was a need for better drugs, saying the side effects, while potentially serious, could be managed.

    “I certainly don’t think this (toxoplasmosis) is one of those diseases where we have been clamoring for better therapies,” said Dr. Wendy Armstrong, professor of infectious diseases at Emory University in Atlanta.

    With the price now high, other companies could conceivably make generic copies, since patents have long expired. One factor that could discourage that option is that Daraprim’s distribution is now tightly controlled, making it harder for generic companies to get the samples they need for the required testing.

    The switch from drugstores to controlled distribution was made in June by Impax, not by Turing. Still, controlled distribution was a strategy Mr. Shkreli talked about at his previous company as a way to thwart generics.

    Some hospitals say they now have trouble getting the drug. “We’ve not had access to the drug for a few months,” said Dr. Armstrong, who also works at Grady Memorial Hospital, a huge public treatment center in Atlanta that serves many low-income patients.

    But Dr. Rima McLeod, medical director of the toxoplasmosis center at the University of Chicago, said that Turing had been good about delivering drugs quickly to patients, sometimes without charge.

    “They have jumped every time I’ve called,” she said. The situation, she added, “seems workable” despite the price increase.
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    Sep 21, 2015 8:27 PM GMT
    Can't spell Douchebro without CEO!

    Shkreli tried his hand at a Twitter war with respected industry writer John Carroll of Fierce Biotech, who questioned Shkreli directly on Twitter about the 5000-plus-percent price hike.

    Martin "You Only Get One Shot" Shkreli@JohnCFierce No one is reading this. There are no "folks". You are irrelevant.


    Turns out, quite a few "folks" wound up reading Carroll and others.

    Hillary Clinton (via Twitter)Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on. -H


    The reaction impacted the biotech industry markets on Wall Street today. So, not exactly "irrelevant", eh? icon_lol.gif
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    Sep 21, 2015 8:34 PM GMT
    THEY SEE ME ROLLIN'... THEY HATIN'... #RidinDirty

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    Sep 21, 2015 8:57 PM GMT
    What a vile human being. And then there's the stuff he's doing with the pharmaceuticals.
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    Sep 21, 2015 9:23 PM GMT
    I think the logic here is that the niche drugs are generally paid for by health insurance companies. Since there is no need to use them frequently, a hike in their price doesn't affect insurance prices much.

    Basically, it's not cost-effective for someone else to jump in the market, even if the patent long expired. There aren't a lot of pills to be sold, and a new manufacturing plant is expensive. It's only when the revenue from that market can justify the new plant that someone else will move in.

    Of course, insurance companies have to pay whatever the drug costs, no matter how ridiculous or how much more than yesterday.
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    Sep 21, 2015 9:33 PM GMT
    themachine saidI think the logic here is that the niche drugs are generally paid for by health insurance companies. Since there is no need to use them frequently, a hike in their price doesn't affect insurance prices much.

    Basically, it's not cost-effective for someone else to jump in the market, even if the patent long expired. There aren't a lot of pills to be sold, and a new manufacturing plant is expensive. It's only when the revenue from that market can justify the new plant that someone else will move in.

    Of course, insurance companies have to pay whatever the drug costs, no matter how ridiculous or how much more than yesterday.


    And of course, the insurance co's pass the expense costs onto You Know Who! Even so, your logic is far more sensible than anything I've seen come out of the Biotech company thus far. If the use is infrequent, then the spread of the additional costs borne by the insurance co's onto general consumers is minimal.

    Of course, one way to make the pill's use much more infrequent is by jacking the price up 5000-plus percent! The lack of generic alternatives for this pill (and the CEOs intent to block any prospects for development) is intriguing, too.

    Improving production ("a new plant") would probably make more sense, too, as an explanation, compared to the CEOs vow to R&D "better treatments" for toxoplasmosis.
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    Sep 21, 2015 10:10 PM GMT
    dayumm said
    Improving production ("a new plant") would probably make more sense, too, as an explanation, compared to the CEOs vow to R&D "better treatments" for toxoplasmosis.


    Is he going to make them in his margarita blender? He doesn't look (or SOUND, having looked at his Twitter conversations) like someone who could figure out a recipe let alone manufacture medications.
  • Antarktis

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    Sep 21, 2015 10:56 PM GMT
    If it's been on the market that long, then there's nothing stopping companies like Abbot from making generics.
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    Sep 21, 2015 11:09 PM GMT
    Antarktis saidIf it's been on the market that long, then there's nothing stopping companies like Abbot from making generics.


    Hopefully, you're right, although Shkreli's abuse of controlled distribution is intended to block that from happening.
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    Sep 21, 2015 11:10 PM GMT
    ShiftyJK08 said
    dayumm said
    Improving production ("a new plant") would probably make more sense, too, as an explanation, compared to the CEOs vow to R&D "better treatments" for toxoplasmosis.


    Is he going to make them in his margarita blender? He doesn't look (or SOUND, having looked at his Twitter conversations) like someone who could figure out a recipe let alone manufacture medications.


    icon_lol.gif true!
  • hebrewman

    Posts: 1367

    Sep 22, 2015 12:05 AM GMT
    what an asshat.
  • Tawrich

    Posts: 62

    Sep 22, 2015 6:49 AM GMT
    this is actually a very interesting problem. Pre-mandatory health insurance there was no way certain patients could pay so much for generic treatments. People were certainly being put through unnecessary but tolerable suffering since they couldn't pay for medication on patent. This trend might reflect the sudden drop in demand leading to drop in supply in the US allowing certain groups to effectively establish a monopoly on the generic. The good thing is that thesr drugs are indeed barely used. There are also foreign supplies.
  • NursePractiti...

    Posts: 232

    Sep 22, 2015 8:25 AM GMT
    Unlike other countries, the United States has made negotiating price controls on drugs illegal. I have many patients who go broke for a variety of medications that were generic, and now forgo treatment. This effectively causes them to miss work because of prolonged and normally controlled illness, thus putting their employment in jeopardy, increase use of the Er, etc. It also increases everyone's costs as a result. The sad thing is better health care systems exist with proven better and less expensive outcomes in other countries.
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    Sep 22, 2015 12:13 PM GMT
    As usual, metta beat me to it! icon_smile.gif

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/4116201
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    Sep 22, 2015 12:48 PM GMT
    I think Hillary did something and the guy rescinded the price hike. I am not completely sure about this.
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    Sep 22, 2015 3:20 PM GMT
    jimib saidI think Hillary did something and the guy rescinded the price hike. I am not completely sure about this.


    Thanks! I mentioned Hillary's comment above, but she's supposed to come out with some policy plan today, so I'll go check both those stories out.

    UPDATE: Nothing yet from Clinton on her gouge-blocking plan.

    Also, no price rescinding from Shkreli (who was on CBS News calling his plan "altruistic"). But we did find ONE thing he rescinded: his OKCupid Profile!

    Take it away, Taiwanese animators! icon_smile.gif

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    Sep 22, 2015 3:41 PM GMT
    The company who price-jacked Cycloserine last month, apparently, didn't have a douChEbrO running the show. But they got enough secondary fire yesterday that they rescinded their pricing scheme (That's the story you probably heard, jimib).

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/turing-pharmaceuticals-ceo-martin-shkreli-defends-5000-percent-price-hike-on-daraprim-drug/

    CBS News"Why was it necessary to raise the price of Daraprim so drastically?" CBS News correspondent Don Dahler asked Shkreli.

    "Well, it depends on how you define so drastically. Because the drug was unprofitable at the former price, so any company selling it would be losing money. And at this price it's a reasonable profit. Not excessive at all," Shkreli responded...

    While Shkreli acknowledged that the move might look "greedy," he said there are "a lot of altruistic properties to it."

    "This is a disease where there hasn't been one pharmaceutical company focused on it for 70 years. We're now a company that is dedicated to the treatment and cure of toxoplasmosis. And with these new profits we can spend all of that upside on these patients who sorely need a new drug, in my opinion," he added.

    Oncologist and CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus disagreed.

    "Patients shouldn't be taxed and charged for future research and development. Patients should pay for the drug they're getting and what they need in the situation that they are," Agus said.

    "It's predatory practice and it's inappropriate," he added...

    "Right now it's out of control, and so we as a country, as a government, as individuals, as doctors all have to get together and say, we need to make pricing appropriate," Agus said.

    But according to Shkreli, the new cost of Daraprim is appropriate.

    "There's no doubt, I'm a capitalist. I'm trying to create a big drug company, a successful drug company, a profitable drug company," he said. "We're trying to flourish, but we're also -- our first and primary stakeholders are patients, there's no doubt about that."

    Hillary Clinton says she will lay out a plan Tuesday about how to take on what she calls price gouging in the specialty drug market. The increased scrutiny on this practice has already led Rodelis Therapeutics that sells tuberculosis drug Cycloserine to rescind a major price hike enacted just last month.
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    Sep 22, 2015 7:54 PM GMT
    She's "The Woman With The Plan!" That didn't rhyme quite the way I planned it... icon_lol.gif

    Hillary Clinton (via Twitter)The uninsured rate is the lowest in decades, but prescription costs, out-of-pocket costs, and premiums are growing. We need to do better.

    Hillary’s prescription drug reform plan: "I want to both protect consumers and promote innovation—while putting an end to profiteering."


    (LIVE speech in Des Moines, Iowa at community healthcare forum)

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc2/watch/live-clinton-on-prescription-drug-prices-530247235732

    Meg Tirrell (CNBC, via Twitter)Hillary laying into Turing again in drug prices speech; notes "that is bad actors making a fortune off people's misfortune"

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    Sep 22, 2015 11:54 PM GMT
    This should be illegal. In addition any company that does it should lose their patent. Disgraceful and completely unethical.
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    Sep 23, 2015 2:23 AM GMT
    It appears he caved

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34332363
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    Sep 23, 2015 2:26 AM GMT
    ShiftyJK08 saidIt appears he caved

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34332363


    He's still a jackass.
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    Sep 23, 2015 2:31 AM GMT
    maxxtowt said
    ShiftyJK08 saidIt appears he caved

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34332363


    He's still a jackass.


    No argument here. He only caved because basically everybody else on the planet was coming after him.
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    Sep 23, 2015 3:05 AM GMT
    I don't believe his "Come to Jesus!" moment reflected the sudden discovery of a conscience. I suspect industry-types put the screws on him for rocking the boats so spectacularly.
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    Sep 23, 2015 3:43 AM GMT
    ShiftyJK08 saidIt appears he caved

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34332363


    You know that when even PhRMA is, like, "Dude...!" icon_lol.gif

    BBCEarlier in the day, PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's main lobbying group, tweeted that Turing "does not represent the values of PhRMA member companies".