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Drug Price Goes from $13.50 to $750 Per Tablet In One Day


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#1 LFC

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 03:09 PM

This is what happens when you leave something like drug pricing to "the market." The drug was bought out by a startup and

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Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“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.”

The article notes that this type of "business" practice is not an isolated incident.

Quote

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.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#2 Traveler

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 03:15 PM

Doesn't make sense. Patent protection expires after 17 years, unless repurposed for another use. Was that the case here? If so, this is fertile ground for rewriting the law. But with POGers in charge, good luck.

Might be a good case for a challenge by a generic maker.
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#3 LFC

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 03:46 PM

Oh dear lord, the guy who orchestrated this is a miserable little puke. He's bright, young, and has absolutely zero interest in making an honest dollar, instead using business machinations to turn a quick profit while causing massive damage to others. Huh. Kinda' reminds me of a young Mitt Romney.

And in this Bloomberg video, he unknowingly but clearly states why the private market solution to healthcare can never ever EVER work for a population as a whole. This is why we pay vastly more for lesser care than any other nation.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#4 Bact PhD

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 03:57 PM

View PostTraveler, on 21 September 2015 - 03:15 PM, said:

Doesn't make sense. Patent protection expires after 17 years, unless repurposed for another use. Was that the case here? If so, this is fertile ground for rewriting the law. But with POGers in charge, good luck.

Might be a good case for a challenge by a generic maker.

Newer rules (post-1995) say it's 20 years from date of filing, but that doesn't look to be the case in this instance. Either way, there are a few other machinations that can extend patent life (alas, this has been dinner-table conversation lately), but I couldn't tell you how prevalent those strategies are.

Overall, some pretty smelly stuff going on in the world of pharma these days. :angry:
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#5 Traveler

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 04:00 PM

How the hell do the rights to a 62-year old drug sell for $55m? Obviously, it is still under patent protection. Seems like a pretty savvy move if he can make the market pay for it. The previous holder obviously thought it wasn't worth that much, given the OTC price he was charging. While morally bankrupt, no worse than what Bain did.
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#6 LFC

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 04:40 PM

View PostTraveler, on 21 September 2015 - 04:00 PM, said:

While morally bankrupt, no worse than what Bain did.

"While mMorally bankrupt, no worse than much like what Bain did."

FTFY
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

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#7 Art_Vandelay

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 08:15 PM

Hated CEO lowering price of $750 AIDS drug Daraprim

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Pharmaceutical company Turing increased the price of a drug called Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill and its CEO, Martin Shkreli, quickly became the focus of public anger. The over 4,000% increase also caught the eye of Hillary Clinton. She tweeted about it Monday, saying she wanted to put an end to drug "price gouging."

The Daily Beast declared Shkreli the "most-hated man in America," surpassing the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion.

Shkreli says he has heard the outcry.

"We've agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a price that is more affordable," Shkreli said on ABC World News Tonight.

He didn't say what that "affordable" price would be, but stressed that the company already gives away the drug for free to about half the patients who use it and that Turing plans to expand its charitable drug program.

Shkreli has been defending himself on Twitter and in numerous TV interviews.
"We needed to turn a profit on the drug," Shkreli told Bloomberg, arguing that companies that owned the drug before were giving it away at $13.50.

I guess he didn't like the bad press. He'll probably drop the price to $375/pill and then claim a that he has dropped the price by 50%.

#8 indy

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 08:29 PM

View PostTraveler, on 21 September 2015 - 04:00 PM, said:

How the hell do the rights to a 62-year old drug sell for $55m? Obviously, it is still under patent protection. Seems like a pretty savvy move if he can make the market pay for it. The previous holder obviously thought it wasn't worth that much, given the OTC price he was charging. While morally bankrupt, no worse than what Bain did.

My understanding is that they so tightly control the supply that nobody can get enough to engineer a generic.

#9 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 06:07 AM

Supposedly they returned the distribution rights to the original owners, who reduced it to just twice the original price.

Same story on two other drugs - one for treating drug resistant TB and one related to AIDS.

Exactly the same story, different players. Buy the rights, crank the price up ten to twenty times, then "relent" and drop it only 2 - 5 times orginal price.

Interesting coincidence.

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#10 Art_Vandelay

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 06:28 AM

If their end game is to increase prices 2 - 5 times, seems rather silly to start 10+ times greater than that amount. The smaller increases would probably go unnoticed, especially if they were phased over time. All this seems to do is make them the focus of bad publicity and worse yet (from their vantage point), renew discussions on the only thing business hates more than taxes - regulation.
Hillary Clinton Drug Plan Would Cap Consumer Costs, Mandate R&D Spending

#11 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 08:17 AM

View PostArt_Vandelay, on 23 September 2015 - 06:28 AM, said:

If their end game is to increase prices 2 - 5 times, seems rather silly to start 10+ times greater than that amount. The smaller increases would probably go unnoticed, especially if they were phased over time. All this seems to do is make them the focus of bad publicity and worse yet (from their vantage point), renew discussions on the only thing business hates more than taxes - regulation.
Hillary Clinton Drug Plan Would Cap Consumer Costs, Mandate R&D Spending

Yeah, I don't want to go all tinfoil hat here. Maybe it is a coincidence, maybe a couple of copycats on the initial idea of how to make a lot of money off an older drug, all having an "oh shit" moment when the publicity on the last one started.

Still, odd to encounter stories about three instances on the same day!

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#12 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 08:18 AM


ETA:

It appears I may be off because different news outlets describe the drug differently. The drug described by one outlet as an Aids drug turns out to be the same one as the initial story, although it had been described as used for certain parasite infections. Maybe all three are the same, just different headline writers.
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#13 Art_Vandelay

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 08:35 AM

View PostProgressive whisperer, on 23 September 2015 - 08:17 AM, said:

Yeah, I don't want to go all tinfoil hat here. Maybe it is a coincidence, maybe a couple of copycats on the initial idea of how to make a lot of money off an older drug, all having an "oh shit" moment when the publicity on the last one started.

Still, odd to encounter stories about three instances on the same day!

I wasn't suggesting that I thought you were wrong, only that I think it is a silly game plan.

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 09:11 AM

View Postindy, on 22 September 2015 - 08:29 PM, said:

My understanding is that they so tightly control the supply that nobody can get enough to engineer a generic.
As I understand it this problem is compounded by the fact that these drugs are fairly low-demand. Even if the margins are huge at the current price that the only member of the market is at the instant a competitor enters the market they will slash the price to next to nothing until the new entrant gives up, losing all of their investment in the drug.
I have been thinking for a while that NGOs and/or governments should simply be getting into the generic drug business, they don't care about losing their initial investment, they just want the cost savings from the lower drug prices and as such are immune to this sort of thing.
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#15 LFC

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 11:42 AM

So it looks like this is par for the course for this asshole. He also bought out a company and jacked up the price of a medicine that prevents painful kidney stones in children and adults who have a specific condition. Got that? His "business model" is to extract money from insurance companies and, if they don't cover it, the families of children who would be living in excruciating pain. Again, this is proof that the free market is incapable of handling our nation's health care needs, and we simply must have a highly regulated system in place.

Quote

When Shkreli was CEO of Retrophin, the company purchased a kidney medication approved by the FDA in 1988 called Thiola and increased the cost from $1.50 per pill to $30 per pill. That drug treated cystinuria, a lifelong disease for which there is no known cure and which afflicts about 20,000 patients in the United States. Forbes health care contributor Steve Brozak described the disease last year when news of the price increase broke:


Quote

Patients are usually diagnosed with the disease at a very young age and have an abnormally high concentration of an amino acid called cystine present in their urine. The excess cystine crystallizes regularly into stones that painfully travel through the kidneys, ureters or bladder. Imagine having a kidney stone form or pass once a month, tearing through your organs as it tracks its way out of your body.


There was no alternative drug for cystinuria sufferers, Brozak reported, and the 20-fold hike raised the price to about between $54,750 to $109,500 per year. At the time, Brozak argued that Retrophin was “turning patients into commodities like barrels of oil,” while University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Associate Professor of Urology Benjamin Davies called it a case of “predatory capitalism on the backs of the sick and silent.” Writing for Science Translational Medicine, pharmaceutical columnist Derek Lowe said the Thiola increase was the “most unconscionable drug price hike I have yet seen.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#16 Progressive whisperer

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 11:51 AM

View PostLFC, on 23 September 2015 - 11:42 AM, said:

So it looks like this is par for the course for this asshole. He also bought out a company and jacked up the price of a medicine that prevents painful kidney stones in children and adults who have a specific condition. Got that? His "business model" is to extract money from insurance companies and, if they don't cover it, the families of children who would be living in excruciating pain. Again, this is proof that the free market is incapable of handling our nation's health care needs, and we simply must have a highly regulated system in place.

Until yesterday.

I gather there are two things going on. The patent right can be extended for low-demand drugs to get the pharma companies to keep making them. Also, the plan was to refuse to sell the drug to any other entities so that proving any generic was the same to the FDA would be impossible. Why the FDA cannot demand the samples I don't know, or maybe the can but it never came up before. Finally, I suppose, the cost of creating the generic for a limited use drug is probably too high to be worthwhile.

Seems there should be a better plan for keeping these drugs available. Then again, we really need to remove the "market" from most healthcare decisions. Our local "community" hospital now sold to a larger for-profit company and being stripped to a minimum of services is a case in point.
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#17 Practical Girl

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 12:12 PM

View PostLFC, on 23 September 2015 - 11:42 AM, said:

So it looks like this is par for the course for this asshole. He also bought out a company and jacked up the price of a medicine that prevents painful kidney stones in children and adults who have a specific condition. Got that? His "business model" is to extract money from insurance companies and, if they don't cover it, the families of children who would be living in excruciating pain. Again, this is proof that the free market is incapable of handling our nation's health care needs, and we simply must have a highly regulated system in place.

And within ACA, Mr. Douchebag profiteer understands that now most of those in need will get the coverage, price be dammed. The big hole in Obamcare, of course, was to turn the profiteers loose in the jungle.
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#18 LFC

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 02:00 PM

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" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#19 AnBr

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 05:17 PM

Who needs big Guvmint when we can have big corp instead.
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#20 LFC

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 07:53 PM

A compounding pharmacy is looking to create the same bill from two drugs (which is all that it really is) and sell it at 100 pills for $99. Basically they'll be taking Martin Shrkreli's investment and slashing it to near worthless.

Quote

A San Diego-based company announced on Thursday that it would compete with Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals by offering the same drug used to help AIDS and cancer patients for $1 a pill, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, a compounding-drug firm, said it would begin selling its own version of the generic drug pyrimethamine, which Turing was marketing under the name Daraprim. Shkreli was roundly criticized last month after his company raised the price for the drug from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill after acquiring the patent.

The version Imprimis will be selling includes pyrimethamine and another generic drug, leucovorin, which is typically used to help cancer patients going through chemotherapy. The two drugs are the active ingredients in Daraprim.

Mark Baum, Imprimis’ CEO, said his company plans to offer similar compounded drugs soon.

“We are looking at all of these cases where the sole-source generic companies are jacking the price way up,” he told the Associated Press. “There’ll be many more of these.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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