Neil Patrick Harris
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After AIDS Drug Price Gouge, CEO Plans to Cut Prices Following the Backlash

Martin Shkreli

Almost as quickly as he became the most hated man in America, Martin Shkreli has decided to reduce the price of Daraprim. The 32-year-old Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO recently bought the rights to sell the drug in America and immediately hiked the price up from $13.50 to $750 a pill.

After mass criticism to what has been perceived as a greedy move to exploit those with AIDS, Shkreli told NBC News about his decision to cut the price:

"Yes it is absolutely a reaction — there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people… I think in the society we live in today, it's easy to want to villainize people, and obviously we're in an election cycle where this is very, very tough topic for people and it's very sensitive. And I understand the outrage."

The price gouge was followed by response from the Democratic presidential hopefuls. Hillary Clinton outlined a plan to cap prescription drug costs at $250 a month while Bernie Sanders pushed his own plan and reiterated his track record of advocating for lower drug costs.

Clinton tweeted about her plan, causing the Biotech index to go into a frenzy:

 

 

Shkreli argued that the production cost of the drug is low, but that does not factor in quality control and regulatory costs:

"It's very easy to see a large drug price increase and say 'Gosh, those people must be gouging.' But when you find out that the company is not really making any money, what does that mean?"

Although it’s not clear what the deflated price will be, Shkreli still hopes to break even or make a small profit. The new price will be determined within the next few weeks.

Long-term AIDS activist, Peter Staley chimed in on Shkreli’s actions with a statement for Out:

"In the end, Shkreli did us all a big favor by launching a long-overdue national discussion around our nation's very broken drug pricing system. AIDS activists have been protesting this for decades. We shut down trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1989 over AZT's price, which was lowered three days later. Now Shkreli has backed down. But we can't keep fighting these drug-by-drug battles. We desperately need some common sense government regulation, like every other country on the planet."

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