It’s saddening to see pharmaceutical companies employ their strategies to make more money off the back of patients, as 62 year old drug goes from $13.50 to $750 over one month and raised the protest banners from institutions, insurance companies, doctors, and of course, patients who need it.
- Daraprim saw to a 5500% increase in price
- It was developed in 1953, and became part of WHO’s list of Essential Medicines
- It’s used to treat toxoplasmosis, malaria, AIDS, and cancer
- Sales last year reached $9.9 million
Daraprim (or generically known as pyrimethamine) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in 1953 as a means to treat many conditions such as HIV and malaria around the world. It was almost instantly placed on the World’s Health Organization’s (WHO) list of ‘Essential Medicines’, and now, that essential cost-effective drug has become a luxury.
In the United States, Daraprim is mainly used to treat toxoplasmosis, a serious life-threatening condition for newborn babies from women who were infected by various parasites, as well as holding a role in cancer or AIDS treatments. While there are a few alternative, their efficiency has not been extensively researched.
Now, the drug has seen a whopping and unbelievable 5500% increase in its price since it was purchased by Turing Pharmaceuticals barely a month ago from Impax Laboratories. It’s not a new medication that requires a high price to cover the research and development process, but an old drug that has become a staple in modern day treatments throughout time.
Price increases are nothing new. First developed by GlaxoSmithKline, Daraprim initially cost $1 per pill, but with time and subsequent sales to other pharmaceutical companies, the price grew higher.
After being acquired by CorePharma in 2010, the drug’s sales rounded at $667,000 that year, which saw to another increase in its price tag that lifted the numbers to $6.3 million in 2011. The sales went further up in 2014, when the numbers reached $9.9 million.
However, Turing Pharmaceuticals’ move might seem like a ridiculous stretch of that technique.
The quick money-making strategy is tragically not the first one in history, but it does seem like a means to raise venue. Some pharmaceutical companies often purchase old drugs, that are highly used and do not have many alternatives on the market. They turn them from regular treatments to “specialty drugs”, which increases the yearly net value to millions of dollars easily, if their use remains constant.
With few alternatives around, that seems like a likely scenario. Infectious Disease Society of American and HIV Medicine Association both have protested this major change in price, calling it “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable” who are still in need of this medication, and “unsustainable for the health care system”. The economy for health care systems is already bad enough, and might not find methods to compensate for such a high cost.
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