Life-saving drug price increases exponentially


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Medicines of a Chicago man with AIDS are laid out. No one medicine can help on its own, so a “drug cocktail” of different medications is taken. The expense of these medications can be drastic, especially for those with lower incomes.

Life with HIV and AIDS is a struggle of a deteriorating body and no foreseeable cure. However, those suffering can take medication to slow the disease’s progress and complications, at least only now for those who can afford its new price.

The drug Daraprim which treats toxoplasmosis has been acquired by start-up Turing Pharmaceuticals and its CEO Martin Shkreli who immediately raised the price 5000 percent from $13.50 to $750.

Shkreli said to Bloomberg TV, “We needed to turn a profit on this drug… the companies before us were actually giving it away almost.”

This sudden and drastic increase has caught the eyes of critics such as healthcare specialists, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the HIV Medicine Association, presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and a large portion of the public.

Clinton tweeted, “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on.”

As well as being too expensive for the many low-income victims of HIV and AIDS, the 5000 percent increase is more than many hospitals like Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital can afford.

Emory University professor of infectious diseases and doctor at Grady Memorial Dr. Wendy Armstrong said to The New York Times, “We’ve not had access to the drug for a few months.”

As a result of the heavy backlash, Shkreli has said he will lower the drug’s price, but he has not yet disclosed by how much or when it will lower.