Martin Shkreli Still Thinks AIDS Patients Will Buy His Product Over the $1 Alternative

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli says he isn't worried about Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based drug company that is offering a $1 per pill alternative to Daraprim, a lifesaving drug that Turing acquired last month.

The former hedge fund manager appeared on Fox Business on Friday, where he defended the 5,000 percent price hike of Daraprim and called his competitor's decision to offer a cheaper version of the drug a "publicity stunt."

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Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo pressed Shkreli on the price gouging scandal and asked him to explain how raising the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill helped patients, as he and his company claimed. She also brought up Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, which announced that it would provide a version of the drug that costs about $1 per pill on Thursday.

"You say this is the only drug, we're the only ones who make it, this is it," Bartiromo said. "Why is it that a competitor is out today saying, Oh, we're going to make a cocktail of drugs, make it one drug, and we're going to sell it for a dollar a pill?"

"For many people, this is exactly what they wanted," Shkreli responded. "There's a company willing to sell a product—I guess—similar to ours. We could talk about that if you want. But I'm not too worried about our competition. I think our product is superior, and patients will choose to use our product."

"It's not a threat to us. I think that, you know, it's a publicity stunt. I wish this company the best of luck, but I have faith in our team and our competitive standpoint," he added.

After Turing raised the price of Daraprim last month, the internet raged and Shkreli went on the defensive. He told ABC News that he would lower the price in response to the backlash, but nearly a month later, he's yet to do so. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as well as Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, have all condemned Shkreli for his role in the price gouging controversy.

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On Thursday, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals announced that it would offer a compounded alternative to Daraprim that costs about $1 per pill.

In a press release, Imprimis CEO Mark Baum said that "[w]hile 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," Baum continued. "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."

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