In early 2010 the long-established treatment, a drug called Daraprim, cost $1 per pill. Last month the price was $13.50... And then it was $750.
Why? Because pharma exec Martin Shkreli saw dollar signs.
It's only because of a public outcry -- including lots of negative #MartinShkreli tweets -- that today the businessman reconsidered his inhumane price hike.
[October 15 update: He kept the price high anyway.]
Way to go, public! Now there's lots more to do. Something's not right when one private exec has this kind of power.
Martin Shkreli is a former hedge fund manager who works as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. According to The New York Times, Turing Pharmaceuticals recently acquired rights to the toxoplasmosis drug.
An estimated 60 million people in the US (including people unaffiliated with cats) carry the toxoplasmosis parasite, but strong immune systems keep the bugger under control. The parasite can be deadly to babies and to anyone with a compromised immune system.
Marty's parasitic price hike is just one of many examples of price gouging by pharmaceutical companies. The public might have become complacent to newer drugs being expensive. Now the executives have found clever ways to bolster the prices of long-established treatments too.
For example, until a nonprofit stepped in to purchase drug rights from Rodelis Therapeutics last month, the price of a tuberculosis prescription ballooned from just under $500 to more than $10,000/month.
Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings have drafted the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015. You can download the full text of the law from the Senator's website. If you like the proposed law, then help it become policy!
Contact information for elected US officials is at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.