Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli announced Tuesday night that the company will roll back the price of the drug Daraprim, but did not commit to a specific price.
The company had faced intense criticism in recent days from patient advocacy groups, doctors, politicians -- as well as from within its own industry -- after it raised the price of the 62-year-old drug from $18 to $750 or more than 4,000 percent after it purchased rights to the drug last month. The medication is a critical treatment for a parasitic infection that can be fatal to those with compromised immune systems due to conditions like AIDS/HIV and cancer.
“We’ve agreed to lower the price on Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit,” Shkreli told ABC News. “We think these changes will be welcomed.”
Shkreli had defended the price hike to journalists as recently as Tuesday morning, saying that it is not only good for its business but good for patients as some of the profits could be reinvested into research to develop new treatments.
Turing Pharmaceuticals explained in a statement that "there have been no significant advances or research into this disease area in decades."
"For toxoplasmosis and other critical, under-treated diseases, the status quo is not an option," the company said. "Turing hopes to change that by targeting investments that both improve on the current formulation and seek to develop new therapeutics with better clinical profiles that we hope will help eradicate the disease."
In what was perhaps one of the most stinging criticisms, John J. Castellani, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry's trade group, disavowed the company and Shkreli.
“PhRMA typically does not comment on matters related to individual company products or product pricing decisions," he said in a statement. But, "Turing Pharmaceutical is not a member of PhRMA and we do not embrace either their recent actions or the conduct of their CEO.”
Shkreli, a 32-year-old former hedge fund manager turned entrepreneur, had personally gained notoriety as "The most hated man in America" (as the Daily Beast called him) after a series of Twitter exchanges over the weekend in which he called the editor of a biotech industry newsletter a "moron" for asking why the price of the drug been jacked up so much and responded flippantly to others who inquired about the issue.
In a tweet before the ABC News broadcast at 6:30 p.m., Shkreli said that these would be his “final comments” on the issue and he would “turn off twitter” after that.
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