Turing pharmaceuticals purchased the 62-year-old drug Daraprim and immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50. Almost immediately the company was attacked by traditional media, new media, social media, and just about everyone else with access to the internet or airwaves.
The drug makers CEO eventually said he would lower the price of the drug, but that a hike was needed to maintain the drugs profitability. In three weeks since his promise, the drugs price remains where it was after the price hike was announced.
The drug’s main use is to treat life-threatening parasitic infection’s but it is also needed by some infants and patients with AIDS.
Now Turing is facing an antitrust investigation for allegedly restricting the distribution of Daraprim to thwart generic competition that would prevent it from maintaining the massive price increase.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is concerned Turing restricted distribution of the drug specifically so generic drug manufacturers couldn’t get the samples they need to create their own version.
Schneiderman’s office sent a letter to Turing CEO Martin Shkreli, who has been dubbed the “most-hated man in America” due to the price hike.
“While competition might ordinarily be expected to deter such a massive price increase, it appears that Turing may have taken steps to prevent that competition from arising,” said the letter, which was first reported by The New York Times.
In a statement on Tuesday the company said its goal is “to ensure that every patient who needs Daraprim has ready and affordable access to [Daraprim].”
The company says that more than 50% of its sales since the price hike have been reduced to $1 per bottle.