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Martin ‘Pharma Boy’ Shkreli just got a lesson in the free market

The pharmaceutical company Martin Shkreli purchased for $55 million is now virtually worthless after competitors moved in and taught him a lesson in free market capitalism.

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, created their own generic version of pyrimethamine, which Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli’s company, was marketing under the name Daraprim. Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per capsule to $750 per capsule after taking ownership of the patent in order to price-gouge those in need of the drug because it was the only one of its kind on the market in the U.S. at the time. Imprimis will be selling their generic version for only $1 per capsule.

The CEO of Imprimis, Mark Baum, plans on taking on other sole-supplier drug companies with jacked up prices on in the future. Baum explained in a statement:

“This is not the first time a sole supply generic drug – especially one that has been approved for use as long as Daraprim – has had its price increased suddenly and to a level that may make it unaffordable.  In response to this recent case and others that we will soon identify, Imprimis is forming a new program called Imprimis Cares which is aligned to our corporate mission of making novel and customizable medicines available to physicians and patients today at accessible prices.

“Today, some drug prices are simply out of control and we believe we may be able to help control costs by offering compounded alternatives to several sole source legacy generic drugs. Imprimis Cares and its team of compounding pharmacists will work with physicians and their patients to ensure they have affordable access to the medicines they need from the over 7,800 generic FDA-approved drugs.  Imprimis Cares, available in all 50 states, will work with all third party insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and buying groups to offer its patient specific customizable compounded drug formulations at prices that ensure accessibility and that provide a reasonable profit for Imprimis.  We are here to serve our patients and their physicians.  We believe that when we do a great job serving our customers, our shareholders will also benefit.”

Baum explained in an interview that other drug companies have raised the prices on the drugs immensely in the past but that Turing had raised the price of their drug to a “previously unheard-of level.”

Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim over 5000 percent of its normal cost, and while he claimed it was for research and development for newer, better drugs those in the pharmaceutical industry say that’s bogus.

Joe Panetta, CEO of Biocom, the San Diego-based life science trade group says Turing’s actions are “counterproductive”:

“There was no justification for it other than profit.

“If they were truly recovering the cost of research or investing in new, innovative drugs, you could begin to justify the increase in cost.”

Effectively, Turing’s monopoly on a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis in cancer and HIV positive patients has been overturned, and doctors can now start prescribing the affordable version offered by Imprimis. The two drugs are virtually identical, but Imprimis’ version contains leucovorin, a drug used to help cancer patients in chemotherapy.

Imprimis’ version of the drug is not FDA-approved however, which would take millions of dollars and several years to get approval. Instead, since both drugs in their compound are FDA-approved, the drug can be prescribed by a doctor to an individual patient who can then purchase the drug through Imprimis’ website. Not the most streamlined process, but it sure as hell beats getting turned down by your insurance company or paying thousands of dollars for one single medication.

As for Shkreli’s multi-million dollar company becoming worthless, he get’s the old Nelson ha-HA!

Featured image via Twitter

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