One of the side effects of Daraprim, a medication needed by many AIDS and cancer patients, is uncontrollable rage — not because…of the drug itself, but because Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price by more than 5,000 percent immediately after purchasing the rights to the medication. Until Turing CEO Martin Shkreli’s greed caused the price to very quickly inflate, the lifesaving pill, which has been on the market longer than Shkreli has been alive, sold for just $13.50 per pill.
Shkreli provided numerous excuses for the price increase, (then) promised to lower prices to an undefined amount at an unspecified point in time…(But) another company has taken it upon themselves to completely embarrass the former hedge funder: San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc announced that it will be providing an alternative to Daraprim…The drug will be sold at as low as $99 for a 100-pill supply. Yes, that’s just about a dollar per pill!
…Imprimis’ alternative is not the same as Daraprim, but it is close: “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,” Imprimis CEO Mark L. Baum said in a press release.
“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…drug which is often prescribed to patients with compromised immune systems such as those suffering from AIDS and cancer.
“This is not the first time a sole supply generic drug – especially one that has been approved for use as long as Daraprim – has had its price increased suddenly and to a level that may make it unaffordable. In response to this recent case and others…Imprimis is forming a new program called Imprimis Cares, which is aligned to our corporate mission of making novel and customizable medicines available to physicians and patients today at accessible prices.”
Baum added: “Today, some drug prices are simply out of control and we believe we may be able to help control costs by offering compounded alternatives to several sole source legacy generic drugs. Imprimis Cares and its team of compounding pharmacists will work with physicians and their patients to ensure they have affordable access to the medicines they need from the over 7,800 generic FDA-approved drugs.
“Imprimis Cares, available in all 50 states, will work with all third party insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and buying groups to offer its patient specific customizable compounded drug formulations at prices that ensure accessibility and that provide a reasonable profit for Imprimis. We are here to serve our patients and their physicians. We believe that when we do a great job serving our customers, our shareholders will also benefit.”