Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli was quickly dubbed ‘the most hated man in America’ in September when his company bought the rights to a drug used to treat AIDS patients and then increased the cost of the drug by 5000%, leaving this life-saving medication far outside the financial reach of most patients.
The move sparked a backlash around the world, and was denounced by US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who described the price hike as “outrageous”.
“I think I could have it raised it higher and made even more profit,” Shkreli said during an interview at the Forbes Healthcare Summit last Thursday (December 3).
“No one wants to say it, no one’s proud of it, but this is a capitalist society, capitalist system and capitalist rules”.
He continued: “My investors expect me to maximize profits, not to minimize them, or go half, or go 70 percent, but to go to 100 percent of the profit curve that we’re all taught in MBA class.”
The 32-year-old former hedge fund manager’s latest comments come just days after he backed out of his previous promise to lower the cost of the drug closer to its original price by the end of the year.
He has now announced that his company will offer hospitals a reduced price of 50%, meaning that the cost will still have increased by 2500%.
Daraprim is used mainly to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection that can cause life-threatening problems for babies born to women who become infected during pregnancy, and also for people with compromised immune systems, like AIDS patients and certain cancer patients.
According to New York Daily News, other drug companies have announced in the wake of the controversy that they will offer rival drugs containing Daraprim’s active ingredients, pyrimethamine and leucovorin, for just $1 a pill.