Martin Shkreli Just Got Owned by a New Drug Company

October 22nd 2015

Kyle Jaeger

A San Diego-based pharmaceutical company announced on Thursday that it would provide a low-cost, compounded alternative to Daraprim, a lifesaving drug that was acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals in September. Turing CEO Martin Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill—inciting public outrage—but this new version from Imprimis Pharmaceuticas would only cost about $1 per pill.

After the New York Times first reported on the price hike controversy, Shkreli went on the defensive, telling ABC News that he would lower the price of Daraprim. A month later, he's yet to follow up on that promise.

RELATED: After Martin Shkreli Promises Decrease, Daraprim Price Still Up 5000%

"While we have seen an increase in costs associated with regulatory compliance, recent generic drug price increases have made us concerned and caused us to take positive action to address an opportunity to help a needy patient population," Imprimis CEO Mark Baum said in a press release. "While we respect Turing's right to charge patients and insurance companies whatever it believes is appropriate, there may be more cost-effective compounded options for medications, such as Daraprim, for patients, physicians, insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers to consider."

"This is not the first time a sole supply generic drug—especially one that has been approved for use as long as Daraprim—has had its price increased suddenly and to a level that may make it unaffordable. In response to this recent case and others that we will soon identify, Imprimis is forming a new program called Imprimis Cares which is aligned to our corporate mission of making novel and customizable medicines available to physicians and patients today at accessible prices."

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders condemned Shkreli for his inaction, writing that the former hedge fund manager was "holding hostage the patients who rely on this lifesaving medication, as well as the hospitals that administer it, by charging unconscionable prices for a drug on which he has a monopoly just because he can."

RELATED: Martin Shkreli, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Destroyed In One Meme

Shkreli has denied that the price gouging was unethical, arguing that the money Turing makes by increasing the price of drugs goes toward research and development. That point has been disputed by many experts, however, as ATTN: previously reported. The lack of regulation of the pharmaceutical industry has allowed drug companies to raise the price of a number of life-saving drugs without disclosing their reasoning.

This new drug, developed by Imprimis, is a customizable compounded formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin. While they are designed to treat the same infectious disease, only Daraprim is FDA approved. That means doctors would have to prescribe Imprimis' compounded version to specific patients.

"Today, some drug prices are simply out of control and we believe we may be able to help control costs by offering compounded alternatives to several sole source legacy generic drugs," Baum said. "We are here to serve our patients and their physicians. We believe that when we do a great job serving our customers, our shareholders will also benefit."

Martin Shkreli just challenged Bernie Sanders to a public debate.

Martin Shkreli just challenged Bernie Sanders to a public debate.

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, October 13, 2015