Turing Pharmaceuticals Chief Commercial Officer Nancy Retzlaff looks back on the company’s decision to raise the price of the drug Daraprim by 5,000% and the ensuing fallout.
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“We obviously as the senior leadership team had a lot of discussions about it, but in the end the team was aligned with that decision for a couple of reasons. First, the company was absolutely committed to ensuring every patient got access regardless of their ability to pay and second that the company was committed to investing in research and development,” Retzlaff told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Retzlaff explained in further detail the reasoning behind the company’s new pricing strategy.
“First I just want to clarify a few things. There is no single price for Daraprim and I think what didn’t come across in some of these hearings was over 60% of patients access our product through government programs, they pay a penny per pill, so that is the only revenue Turing receives from that.” Retzlaff continued, “The other 30% actually get their drug through commercial insurance and commercial insurance, yes they do pay closer to the list price, but importantly it’s a very small patient population and those revenues we invest them back into R&D.”
Retzlaff then responded to concerns the pricing strategy could potentially bankrupt some patients.
“I’m not bankrupting them, in fact I’ve got patient access brokers in place that ensures that every patient that needs Daraprim can get it regardless of their ability to pay, and again, it’s all contingent on what you do with those revenues and I think we should be held accountable frankly for reinvesting into R&D and ensuring our patient access programs.” said Retzlaff.
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Retzlaff then discussed why the drug is still affordable despite the price increase.
“Our product is affordable through all of our patient access programs, for commercial insurers we cap their co-pays at $10, again as I told you most access through government programs.”
Retzlaff then explained why the price increase benefits innovation in the long-term
“We took the price up 5,000% because we saw that there was a neglected disease that nobody had paid attention to in sixty years and there was a significant need for innovation.”