Turning CEO Martin Shkreli made waves last month for hiking up the price of a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer by a staggering 5000 percent. Now the San Diego based biomedical company Imprimis Pharmaceuticals is offering a competitor to that drug for $1 per pill, which is obviously way cheaper than the $750 per pill that Turning charges.
See, Turning’s drug Daraprim is the brand-name version of the generic drug pyrimethamine and Impirmis wants to lay the smackdown on other pharmaceutical companies that charge an arm and a leg for generic drugs. Imprimis’ version of the drug is a combination of pyrimethamine and leucovorin, which is a form of folic acid that helps cancer patients handle the rigors of chemotherapy.
Any qualified drug maker can introduce a competitor to pyrimethamine since it’s a generic drug, but it occupies a niche market and other companies didn’t see any market value for it until recently. See, Turning were able to raise the price of their drug so dramatically because they were the only one selling it. Now that they’ve done this, and attracted a great deal of attention, they’ve allowed other pharmaceutical companies to come in and offer their own versions of the drug. Way to go, Shkreli! You unwittingly let everyone in on what was previously a one member club.
Imprimis CEO Mark L Baum says there’s one catch, though. As of right now their formula isn’t FDA approved, and can only be sold legally via a doctor’s persecution. However, it should be noted that the specific ingredients for their compound are FDA approved.