HIV drug price skyrockets

Shane Beneke

When asked to describe Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, some of the more polite comments included: “scumbag,” “morally bankrupt,” and “everything wrong with capitalism.” But what exactly did Shkreli do that made him so hated?

Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals,  launched this past February. Soon after its establishment, the company acquired the rights to the prescription drug Daraprim. While the drug is typically used to treat a rare parasitic infection, many people with weakened immune systems (such as those with AIDS) have come to rely on the drug.

A dose of the drug usually cost $13.50. However, in September, Shkreli announced that he would raise the price of a dose to $750, a 5000 percent increase.

Shkreli argues that the price hike is necessary because of the drug’s specialized nature. He also claims that the additional profits will be used to improve the drug’s 62-year-old recipe.

Media and public figures alike were quick to criticize Shkreli’s decision.

“On behalf of the American people, we are sickened by these actions,” said  Bernie Sanders, senator of Vermont and 2016 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination, in a statement published on his official website on Oct. 9.

Shkreli quickly fired back on Sanders on Twitter.

Senator @BernieSanders doesn’t understand healthcare. I hope he debates this topic with me instead of relying on sound bites and cheap shots,” Shkreli tweeted on the same day.

Students at Kent State had some strong opinions about Shkreli’s decision to raise the price of Daraprim.

Lauren Phillips, a senior public relations major, said that Shkreli’s actions make it seem like he’s money-hungry.

“How are people going to get their hands on it if it’s so expensive?” said Phillips.

Phillips also added that she doesn’t think his decision was ethical considering it prevents many people who need the drug from acquiring it.

On the other hand, Annelise Roser, a junior fashion merchandising major, said that she sees why Shkreli raised the price of a pill, but doesn’t agree with it.

“I see his point and he could have still raised the price, but I think something that drastic wasn’t that necessary,” Roser said.

Much like Phillips, Roser was skeptical of Shrekli’s motives for raising the price of each pill.

“If it’s to help something why (charge) such a crazy amount? It doesn’t seem ethical at all,” she said.

Contact Shane Beneke at [email protected]