News

Turing refuses to lower price for drug with the 5000% price hike

Written by Tamara Rosin (Twitter | Google+)  | November 25, 2015 

 

Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drugmaker that made headlines in September for raising the price of a toxoplasmosis medication by 5000 percent overnight, said Tuesday it will not lower the drug’s price after all, according to The New York Times.

Previously, Turing CEO Martin Shkreli said in interviews that he would cut the price of the drug to a “modestly lower” price by the end of the year, according to Fortune.

The cost of Daraprim, Turing’s recently purchased 62-year-old drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, will remain at $750 per pill. However, the company said it would offer discounts of up to 50 percent to hospitals and would take other steps so patients can afford the medicine.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Turing said it is more important to reduce the cost of Daraprim to hospitals, where most patients receive their initial treatment, than to lower the list price of the drug, according to the report.

“A drug’s list price is not the primary factor in determining patient affordability and access,” Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement, according to the report. “A reduction in Daraprim’s list price would not translate into a benefit to patients.”

Turing also said it would create smaller pill bottles that contain 30 tablets instead of 100 to make it less expensive for hospitals to keep it in stock, according to the report.

Some patient advocates are saying the discount to hospitals is not enough, because though patients typically are first treated in hospitals, they usually have to continue taking the drug for weeks or months after they are discharged.

Carlos del Rio, MD, a professor at Emory University and chairman of the HIV Medicine Association, said even after a 50 percent discount is applied, the drug is still much more expensive to hospitals than it was when it was $13.50 per pill.

Turing said it would lower co-payments for commercially insured patients to at most $10 per prescription. It also said it would provide Daraprim to qualified uninsured patients for free and donate money to a charity that helps Medicare patients meet their co-payments.

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