[Ip-health] Drug with rage-inducing >5, 000% price-hike now has $1/pill competitor

Claire Cassedy claire.cassedy at keionline.org
Thu Oct 22 14:29:29 PDT 2015


Drug with rage-inducing >5,000% price-hike now has $1/pill competitor

Different company developed alternative in response to $750-per-pill price

by Beth Mole - Oct 22, 2015 2:17pm EDT

Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that last month raised the price of the
decades-old drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750, now has a competitor.

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company based in
San Diego, announced today that it has made an alternative to Daraprim that
costs about a buck a pill—or $99 for a 100-pill supply.

“While we respect Turing's right to charge patients and insurance companies
whatever it believes is appropriate, there may be more cost-effective
compounded options for medications, such as Daraprim,” Mark L. Baum, CEO of
Imprimis, said in a news release.

The alternative is not exactly the same as Daraprim, but it’s close.
Daraprim’s active ingredient is pyrimethamine, which has been available
since 1953 for the treatment of parasitic diseases (namely malaria and
toxoplasmosis). Imprimis’ alternative also contains pyrimethamine as well
as leucovorin, which the company said helps to reverse pyrimethamine’s
negative effects on bone marrow.

Until now, Turing was the sole producer of a pyrimethamine-based drug,
which is often prescribed to patients with compromised immune systems such
as those suffering from AIDS and cancer.

The price increase of Daraprim, announced last month, sparked widespread
outrage against the company and its founder and chief executive, Martin
Shkreli. The move by Imprimis is in direct response to those events, and
the company said it plans to produce more cheap alternative drugs. In the
news release, the company announced the start of a new program called
Imprimis Cares, which will ensure affordable versions of the 7,800 generic
FDA-approved drugs.

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