Raising Drug Prices – Samantha DeSilva
In September of this year, Martin Shkekli, founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, announced that his company would be raising the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750. That’s more than a 5,000% increase. Daraprim is known for being the best treatment for preventing malaria, treating toxoplasmosis, and preventing other kinds of infections. Over the many years of its use, the drug has been a principle drug for AIDs patients or other patients with weakened immune systems. I was glad that we were able to discuss this issue during one of our AMSA meetings, where we watched clips of the issue from multiple news stations. It is appalling that this type of injustice can exist in our society.
Even today, after being seen as one of the most hated men in America, being called a “morally bankrupt scumbag,” and “everything that is wrong with capitalism,” Shkreli stands by the price increase and even claims they should have increased the price more. At the Forbes Healthcare Summit, Shkreli made it abundantly clear that his job was not to serve the patients, but to make the most money for his shareholders, after some time of claiming the reason for the price increase was to pour money into research. Instead of ceding to the critics, Shkreli blamed the capitalist system explaining, “No one wants to say it, no one’s proud of it, but this is a capitalist society, capitalist system and capitalist rules, and my investors expect to me to maximize profits, not to minimize them, or go half…”
Shkreli represents all that is wrong with pharmaceutical companies. Because of how disconnected drug companies are from the patients and how profitable they are due to their inherent necessity, they often do not work with the best interest of patients in mind. It goes without saying that what Turing Pharmaceuticals was morally deficient, but it does serve as a reminder, a reminder of what matters at the end of the day – the patients and their well being. As future doctors and even citizens of our world, we must remember the importance of working together as a community. We must never forget to think of others before we act.
Sources: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2015/12/03/what-martin-shkreli- says-now-i-shouldve-raised-prices-higher/ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34331761