Yesterday, former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli (above) was in the news for jacking up the price of a drug called Daraprim from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. He went on Bloomberg to explain why he thinks a pill that costs less than $1 to manufacture should cost $750. He said that even at that price, "Daraprim is still underpriced relative to its peers." He then went onto Twitter to live up to his douchebag reputation by behaving like a douchebag – calling a journalist a moron for asking Shkreli why he increased the price of the medication, which helps people with compromised immune systems.
Today, Shkreli's Twitter account is closed to everyone but confirmed followers. He also said he would reduce the cost of Daraprim to "to allow the company to break even or make a smaller profit," according to NBC.
"Yes it is absolutely a reaction — there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people," Shkreli said, 32.
Jeremy Stahl at Slate says this isn't the first time Shkreli has gouged sick people:
When Shkreli was CEO of Retrophin, the company purchased a kidney medication approved by the FDA in 1988 called Thiola and increased the cost from $1.50 per pill to $30 per pill. That drug treated cystinuria, a lifelong disease for which there is no known cure and which afflicts about 20,000 patients in the United States. Forbes health care contributor Steve Brozak described the disease last year when news of the price increase broke:
Patients are usually diagnosed with the disease at a very young age and have an abnormally high concentration of an amino acid called cystine present in their urine. The excess cystine crystallizes regularly into stones that painfully travel through the kidneys, ureters or bladder. Imagine having a kidney stone form or pass once a month, tearing through your organs as it tracks its way out of your body.
There was no alternative drug for cystinuria sufferers, Brozak reported, and the 20-fold hike raised the price to about between $54,750 to $109,500 per year.