Heads up: We have a new “most hated man in America.”
Martin Shkreli, 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the rights to a decades-old drug and last week spiked the price per pill 5,000 percent.
Daraprim is a drug used by many AIDS and cancer patients to treat life-threatening parasitic infections, according to CNN Money. When Shkreli bought the rights, the drug had been on the market for $13.50 per pill. Now at $750 per pill, many who rely on the drug for immune system-upkeep must pay the insane price or go without.
Before considering all sides of the situation, know there are no ulterior motives behind this action besides generating wealth for an already wealthy company.
So in short, this is despicable.
Since the announcement of the price hike, people have taken to social media to express their distaste for the man responsible. In the fold is none other than Hillary Clinton. On Sept. 21, she tweeted, “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous…”
In response, Shkreli fired a virtual middle finger.
This action should not be tolerated. The idea of “price gouging” drugs is playing a monopoly on goods someone needs to survive. To take advantage of someone’s medical dependency would be, in any other vocation, a crime.
Since the attention and backlash from social media, Shkreli announced he would be dropping the price to a more manageable range. While an improvement, the raise remains to benefit the company rather than the sickly.
Understandably, companies need to generate a profit to stay sustainable. This is Business 101. However, raising the cost of something as important as a life-improving drug shows just how backwards businessmen are taught to think about their customers.
Humanity can’t be bought; it’s something to be cared for and understood. Customers are more than just $750 pills. They’re people depending on a good for survival. A good like that, people would pay through the nose to get, but that doesn’t mean they should.
The drug’s popularity has been questioned among those in debate about the price raise. According to the the New York Times, “Daraprim is the standard first treatment for toxoplasmosis, in combination with an antibiotic called sulfadiazine. There are alternative treatments, but there is less data supporting their efficacy.”
Doctors and representatives from notable hospitals are quoted in the same article saying they will have to start finding alternative routes for patients who can’t afford the new price of Daraprim. While this could lead to other, effective ways to treat patients, the situation also becomes a contender to the phrase, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Overall, this action from drug companies calls to question the morality of those in charge. For Mr. Shkreli, it’s safe to assume he’s not concerned with the well-being of those he’s in business to service. It’s time to encourage compassion as a quality we look for in leaders and realize greed is not equivalent with success.