A San Diego-based pharmaceutical company plans to supply consumers with a far cheaper version of the life-saving drug used by AIDS and cancer patients, Daraprim.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday that Imprimis Pharmaceuticals will soon begin to sell the generic form of the drug pyrimethamine, which is marketed by Martin Shkreli‘s Turing Pharmaceuticals as Daraprim. Shkreli gained notoriety last month after his company inflated the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 a capsule soon after receiving its patent.
“We are looking at all of these cases where the sole-source generic companies are jacking the price way up,” Mark Baum said, who is the CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals. “There’ll be many more of these.”
According to Baum, his company’s new drug is compound formulated with both pyrimethamine and another generic drug to alleviate cancer symptoms, Leucovorin. Each pill is expected to run consumers roughly $1 per pill and $99 per bottle of 100 capsules.
Imprimis primarily makes compounded drugs to treat cataracts and urological conditions. They plan to work with medical insurance companies and hospitals to make its new drug more widely available.
“We’re geared up. We’re ready to go as soon as the orders come in,” Baum said.
For a Pharmaceutical company to engage in an act of charity when it comes sale of medications is nearly unheard of. Many companies actually adopt similar business practices to that of Turing and suddenly increase their drug prices without little warning.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals became well-known for raising the price of two of its heart medications, Nitropress and Isuprel, upwards of 212 and 525 percent. Valeant also raised the price of the heartburn medication Zegerid by 550 percent this year. However, Turing took the practice to a whole new level when they increased Daraprim by 5,000 percent.
“We spend more than 50% of our revenue on R&D,” Shkreli said in response to criticism on Twitter. “Please get your facts straight before lumping us in with others.”
Pharmaceutical companies generally respond to complaints about high prices by stating that the price represents the costs of expensive research. According to Shrekli, the money helps pay for bringing innovative new drugs to market, and it provides a financial incentive to bring more existing drugs to market that currently are not sold as they do not generate enough profit.
While Shrekli may have a point about developing and marketing a niche drug being expensive, charging the deathly ill the price the equivalent of a compact car for a 30 day supply of Daraprim seems incredibly rapacious, even for a pharmaceutical company.
[Gawker] Featured image via Facebook