Last Saturday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, slammed Turing Pharmaceuticals for announcing they will continue their outrageous price hike on Daraprim – a crucial and often lifesaving treatment for people living with HIV. Public outrage followed Shkreli’s reckless decision to raise the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent overnight back in September. According to news reports overnight, Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals now plans to drop the cost of the lifesaving drug by “as much as 50 percent” which is still more than $375 – far above the drug’s original $13.50 price.
HRC President Chad Griffin said:
“Martin Shkreli is not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes. After increasing the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent, he now proposes to gouge critically ill people upwards of $375 for a drug that used to cost just a few dollars. His desire to turn a profit at any cost and brazen disregard for the well-being of the most vulnerable patients – including people with HIV and pregnant women – is appalling and contemptible. We continue to call on Congress, the Administration and the New York Attorney General to hold Turing Pharmaceuticals to account and do what is necessary to restore this life-saving treatment to its original price.”
Turing Pharmaceuticals came under intense scrutiny after the outrageous price hike made headlines. HRC joined 151 other organizations from across the nation in signing an open letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals urging company CEO Martin Shkreli to act. Prior to that, at HRC’s urging, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began investigating whether Turing Pharmaceuticals may have violated antitrust laws by limiting distribution of a drug that is essential to the lives of medically vulnerable people.
HRC also sent letters to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce; andRep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, seeking an investigation into the unconscionable action of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
The letters also called for an inquiry into Turing’s acquisition of Daraprim, the pricing strategy for the drug, investments made to bring the drug to market, the impact of that strategy on patient access, and the increased cost to federally-funded health programs. And they requested a hearing on formulary and tiering structure for prescription medications offered through health exchanges.