The price-gouging pharmaceutical CEO under fire for increasing the price of HIV/AIDS drug, Daraprim from $18 to $750 per pill is unapologetic. During an interview with the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Turing CEO Martin Shkreli explained what was behind the move.
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“For us it made a lot of sense because it was a drug that not many drug companies wanted to own… So it was in danger of being put out of business… It was one of the smallest products in the drug business -- so now it’s a little bit of a bigger product but it’s still really tiny compared to blockbuster drugs like Viagra or Lipitor. So this product is now affordable to make. We can make it and turn a profit and put it back into research for this disease,” he said.
Shkreli said that taking the price up 5,000% will give the company the capability to make a better drug to treat HIV and AIDS.
“Put yourselves in the shoes of someone who has this illness. This drug is 70 years old -- and it has terrible side effects and it’s not that effective… If you were a patient that had this illness you wouldn’t want a 70 year old drug. Most people don’t want a 6 month old cell phone… I think when people say $750 -- that sounds like a lot of money, but the reality is 60% of our patients get it for $1, one penny per pill.”
Shkreli also responded to Imprimis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IMMY) introducing a $1 alternative drug.
“It’s not a threat to us. I think that it’s a publicity stunt. I wish this company the best of luck but I have faith in our team and our competitive standpoint,” he said.
He also discussed Hillary Clinton’s push for regulators to probe his company.
“I think the politicians with price caps would destroy the pharmaceutical economy, pharma-biotec complex that exists that creates so many jobs and so many great medicines. This country leads the world in drug innovation… Our company just received… a fast track designation for our epilepsy drug just earlier this week… We are developing 6 other brand new medicines that we invented from scratch and I think that by putting price caps on drugs, Politian’s will inadvertently or intentionally actually limit the interest of innovation.”
When asked whether consumers can trust he wouldn’t make drug prices unaffordable he said:“My salary is zero dollars. The average pharma CEO makes millions of dollars. I give millions of dollars to charity, they don’t.”