Trump slams ‘spoilt brat’ who increased cost of AIDS drug by 5500%
Donald Trump has laid into a former hedge fund manager who acquired the rights to a drug used to treat AIDS-related illnesses and raised the price by 5,500 percent.
Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under fire after buying the rights to 62-year-old drug Daraprim, which is used to treat parasitic infections including AIDS-related infections
It emerged this week that he had dramatically increased the price of the drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750 – an increase of 5500%.
Daraprim costs less than $1 per tablet to make, and is used to treat conditions including toxoplasmosis – an opportunistic parasitic infection which can cause life threatening problems for people with AIDS.
However, Shkreli has attracted the ire of Republican billionaire Donald Trump, who branded him a “spoilt brat”.
The Presidential hopeful joined with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in condemning the practise.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, he said: “This young guy raised the price to a level that’s absolutely ridiculous, and he looks like a spoiled brat to me.
“And he’s a hedge fund guy […] and I thought it was a disgusting thing, what he did. I thought it was a disgrace.”
When asked about drug price gouging in general, he added: “I know, it’s terrible, but in particular, there’s something about that one, the way he raised it and to that extent and then he sat back smug like he was hot stuff.
“That guy is nothing. He’s zero. He’s nothing. He ought to be ashamed of himself.”
Shkreli caused controversy when he claimed that his company had a right to make a profit out of the drug.
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The entrepreneur has denied attempting to “gouge” patients with the dramatic price increase, but claimed it had been “undervalued” as other life-saving drugs can cost as much as $100,000.
After widespread outcry, Shkreli earlier this week agreed to back down and lower the price of the drug – though he did not confirm by how much.
His company confirmed: “We’ve agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit, and we think these changes will be welcome.”
It marks a turn-around from the businessman, who had repeatedly insisted that he would not lower the cost of the drug.
The new price point of the drug has not been confirmed, but is still expected to be consistently higher than the $1 per pill it costs.