This week, the price of a standard drug used for critical parasitic infections increased from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

The drug, Daraprim, has been a mainstay in treatment for over 60 years. After acquiring the drug in August, the start-up pharmaceutical company called Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price by 5,000%.

The drug is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a common food-borne disease, that infects those with weakened immune systems. Typically, the drug is taken by babies whose mothers have infections during pregnancy and patients with organ transplants, AIDS, and some types of cancer.

Last month another decades-old drug, Cycloserine, was purchased by Rodelis Therapeutics, who then increased the price from $500 to $10,800 for 30 pills. After the news broke about the Daraprim price hike, Rodelis returned the rights to the drug to the former holder, a non-profit, on Tuesday. Instead of the original $500 for 30 pills, the organization will double the price to $1,050.

This is becoming a more common practice on drugs that are standard in specific, lesser-known illnesses.

The cases of Daraprim and of the tuberculosis drug, Cycloserine, are examples of a relatively new business strategy – acquiring old, neglected drugs, often for rare diseases, and turning them into costly “specialty” drugs,” the New York Times wrote in an article.

The CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals is Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund executive who has been on multiple news channels and vocal on social media since Monday.

He said since he’s shown that companies and their investors can make a profit from rare diseases such as toxoplasmosis, the result will be more education about the illness and better drugs and service for patients.

Many have spoken against him and his company, including the HIV Medicine Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

After the “outrage” at the beginning of the week, Tuesday night Shkreli said he would lower the price, but did not say by how much, or what the new price would be.


This image is from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, nearly three-fourths of Americans believe we pay more for drugs than people in other countries. In this case, they’re right- the generic version of Daraprim costs about $20 for 100 pills abroad. Drug costs in the United States exceed other countries by far, shown in this chart by the New York Times.


This image is from the New York Times.

Due to the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships and the location of our office,  we will be closed Thursday and Friday. We will be back on Monday!

mc13Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees Hall of Famer, died yesterday at 90. Yogi was a great human being, and while he was known for his quotes, he had so many special things about him.

  • “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
  • “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.”
  • “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

This photo is from the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame website.

To read more about price increase of Daraprim, click here.

Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation’s website for more on their survey on prescription drug prices.


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