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Entrepreneur raises cost of drug used in AIDS treatment by 5,500%

Joseph McCormick September 22, 2015

A pharmaceutical entrepreneur has bought the rights to a drug used to treat AIDS-related illnesses and raised the price by 5,500 percent.

The rights to 62-year-old Daraprim which is used to treat parasitic infections including AIDS-related infections, were bought by Martin Shkreli.

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The 32-year-old founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the rights to Daraprim for $55 million, reports the New York Times.

The price of the drug subsequently went up from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis – an opportunistic parasitic infection which can cause life threatening problems for people with AIDS.

Toxoplasmosis can also affect babies and those with certain types of cancer.

Several years ago the drug sold for just over $1 a tablet, and the price has risen as the rights have changed hands.

But never as much as since Shkreli acquired it.

The entrepreneur has denied attempting to “gouge” patients with the dramatic price increase.

“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” Shkreli said.

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He went on to attempt to justify it by saying most users of the drug are on it for less than a year. He also said comparable drugs for rare illnesses cost a similar amount.

The price hike has caused massive controversy, and some medical professionals have expressed concern for those who use the drug.

“It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this,” Shkreli continued, claiming the revenue from the drug will go into creating a new one with less side effects.

Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton tweeted on Monday: “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on.”

More: AIDS, daraprim, Martin Shkreli, US

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