Yep, Martin Shkreli's 5,000 Percent Drug Price Hike Is Still In Effect

Daraprim, used to treat AIDS, malaria and cancer patients, once cost $13.50 a pill. Now it costs $750 a pill.

Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison and a $75,000 fine after he was found guilty of defrauding his investors last year.

Shkreli, however, is best known for an affront to the American public: hiking up the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent in September 2015.

In a Brooklyn courtroom during his sentence hearing, Shkreli shed tears and appeared to show remorse for his past. But two and a half years after the out-of-pocket cost of Daraprim skyrocketed, the price hasn’t budged, although the company has tried to make it less expensive for hospitals.

Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and entrepreneur, earned his unflattering nickname by raising the cost of the drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. After a Bloomberg reporter suggested it cost around $1 to make, Shkreli acknowledged the drug cost “very little money” to make.

He faced an onslaught of criticism for what was perceived as blatant price-gouging that put the cost of care for some patients out of reach. He also didn’t do himself any favors by explaining how he was motivated by profits.

His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of the drug very quickly after acquiring it, claiming it would use the profits to develop a new drug with fewer side effects. The company says it is now testing several new alternatives. Daraprim has been around for more than six decades, and is used to treat toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be life-threatening to people with weak immune systems ― like AIDS patients.

HuffPost contacted a representative Vyera Pharmaceuticals, Turing Pharmaceuticals’ new name. A company representative confirmed that Daraprim still costs $750 out of pocket, with a reduced price for patients who meet certain federal poverty guidelines. (For example, a household of two people must not exceed a $48,720 annual income.)

The company announced in November 2015 that it would give hospitals a discount of up to 50 percent for the drug and provide doctors with sample starter packs at no cost. HuffPost reached out to Vyera to confirm that those discounts are still in effect, but did not immediately receive a response.

While relatively few people need to use Daraprim, there remains no generic alternative to the drug for low-income patients.

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