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New and Parasitic Drug Corp Hikes Price of an Old Drug by 5,000 Percent Overnight — Claim It's 'For Research' (Video)

The drug company that developed the drug decades ago was acquired by a start up corp owned by a hedge fund manager. He upped the price of a pill from $13.50 per pill to $750 in a matter of seconds. That move is typical: Recently the price of some old drugs have increased astronomically.

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkrel: He's young but already a world class Wall Street parasite.

By Laura Lorenzetti
Turing Pharmaceuticals and its CEO Martin Shkreli were the subject of significant criticism on Monday after the company boosted the price of the toxoplasmosis treatment Daraprim by over 5,000% after acquiring the drug in August.


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Turing Pharmaceuticals and its CEO Martin Shkreli were the subject of significant criticism on Monday after the company boosted the price of the toxoplasmosis treatment Daraprim by over 5,000% after acquiring the drug in August.

The move, and its resultant media coverage, led to outrage on Twitter. Comments got heated as people took personal cracks at Shkreli, calling him names that are mostly unprintable by this publication. In response, Shkreli and Turing have mounted their own media blitz to explain why they increased the cost of Daraprim to $750 a pill from $13.50.

“Toxoplasmosis is a very serious, sometimes deadly disease, yet there have been no significant advances or research into this disease area in decades,” the company wrote in an email response to Fortune. “Turing hopes to change that by targeting investments that both improve on the current formulation and seek to develop new therapeutics with better clinical profiles that we hope will help eradicate the disease.”
RELATED STORY: Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight
Certainly, an argument can be made in Turing’s defense. Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease often contracted via contaminated food, can be cause problems for people with suppressed immune systems, which is why various AIDS and cancer groups have been especially outraged by the price increases. It’s also particularly dangerous for pregnant women since it can cause birth defects, and the Centers for Disease Control lists it as one of five neglected parasitic infections in the U.S.

However, toxoplasmosis generally isn’t an issue for healthy people. In fact, about 60 million people (19% of the U.S. population) may be infected with the parasite without knowing it. There’s only about 4,400 hospitalizations each year due to toxoplasmosis and an estimated 327 deaths, according to the CDC.

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