Dirtbag Hedge Fund Manager Withdraws Promise To Reduce Price For AIDS Medication

By May Wilkerson 12/02/15

Martin Shkreli has gone back on his promise to reduce the cost of the live-saving drug Daraprim.

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In case you forgot the much-loathed name Martin Shkreli, he is the former hedge fund manager-turned-CEO who infamously gouged the price of a potentially life-saving AIDS medication from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill back in September. And while he initially agreed to ease off the price hike after wide Internet backlash, it looks like he has gone back on his word and the price hike will stay intact.

Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, owns the rights to Daraprim, an antimicrobial drug that can be used to treat symptoms of cancer and AIDS. In a press release for Daraprim issued last week, there was no mention of the decreased price that Shkreli promised.

"Drug pricing is one of the most complex parts of the healthcare industry," said Nancy Retzlaff, Chief Commercial Officer for Turing, in the release. The company added: "We pledge that no patient needing Daraprim will ever be denied access."

The release included various conditions offering financial assistance to patients not covered by insurance. It promised to "provide Daraprim free-of-charge to uninsured, qualified patients with demonstrated income at or below 500% of the federal poverty level through our Patient Assistance Program." In 2014, 500% of the federal poverty level was $58,350 a year.

In a previous release from September, the company announced a program called Daraprim Direct, which assures patients-in-need that it can assist with: “DARAPRIM delivery, reimbursement and financial assistance, and support services." So it seems that some patients may be able to pay as little as $10 per prescription with the aid of federal discounts. Additionally, Turing will make some donations to charity.

But nowhere in the press release is there any mention of a decreased price, despite Shkreli saying, back in December: "it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people."

This means insurance companies, as well as uninsured individuals making more than about $60,000 a year, will most likely still have to fork over $750-a-pill. And in various interviews since the recent release, Shkreli has avoided addressing this exact question. "It's always been affordable," he told Bloomberg. "I don't know how many times I have to repeat myself."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.