Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli via Twitter


Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drug company helmed by Martin Shkreli, is planning to cut the price of its drug Daraprim by as much as 50% for hospitals administering the drug, the company announced on Tuesday.

Shkreli was the subject of widespread public ire in September, when he raised the price of the antiparasitic drug from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet, jacking it up 5,000%.

The increase was so controversial that it prompted anger from Democratic presidential candidates US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Hillary Clinton, and legislators have called Shkreli to Washington to explain his business practices.

Daraprim’s price hike also brought attention to price increases across the pharmaceutical industry. The Senate has launched a bipartisan investigation into the matter.

What the ‘decrease’ means

The up to 50% decrease will apply to patients administered Daraprim — a 62-year-old drug that’s used to treat malaria and parasitic infections in patients with weakened immune systems — in the hospital. That means that instead of paying $750 per pill at wholesale cost, they could pay as little as $375 per pill.

Still, the reduction will still leave Daraprim’s price higher than it was initially, when it cost just $13.50 a pill.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s earlier report, the Daraprim “discount” will depend on how much of the drug a hospital uses. The report added that out-of-hospital users will not be able to get a discount and will still have to depend on insurance companies to cover the cost of the drug.

In its news release, Turing cited that about 80% of patients with toxoplasmosis encephalitis, a condition treated with Daraprim, are first treated at hospitals. That leaves about 20% to handle the wholesale cost through insurance or other access plans.

Turing also announced that it will be making smaller bottles of Daraprim that contain 30 pills rather than 100 with the intention to make it easier for hospitals to carry this supply.

When asked if the wholesale price of the drug had been cut as well, a Turing spokesman deferred comment to the news release. Shkreli told Business Insider earlier this month that there would be a modest decrease in the price of Daraprim by Christmas. It’s not clear if this hospital price cut is the modest decrease Shkreli referred to, though we’ve reached out to him for comment.

“We’ll announce when we announce,” he said at the time.

As reported by Business Insider