NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has bowed to public pressure and agreed to reverse a huge price increase for the life-saving drug Daraprim. Shkreli sparked outrage after hiking the cost of the drug over 5,000%, from $13.50 to $750 per pill, overnight.
Turing bought Daraprim in August for $55 million. It is just one of the many pharmaceutical companies upping prices on neglected drugs in an effort to transform them into more specialized treatments.
Daraprim has been in use for over 60 years to fight infection in patients whose immune systems have been weakened by conditions such as malaria, HIV or cancer.
Shkreli defended his actions this week saying that the markup would be used to research better treatments and new drugs. He added that the drug is rarely used, and most patients only require it for under a year. Several critics have publicly disagreed, saying a replacement for the drug isn’t needed.
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Turing has not yet confirmed what the new price of Daraprim will be, but commented on his Twitter (TWTR – Get Report) account that over the coming weeks the company would "set the record straight on misconceptions and announce some adjustments to our plan."
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Turing’s actions "price gouging" and has called for new regulation on drug pricing, which would prevent patients paying over a certain amount out of pocket for medication each month.
New drug releases have also come under fire for being prohibitively expensive. A recently debuted hepatitis C treatment, Gilead Sciences’ (GILD – Get Report) Sovaldi, costs around $1,000 a pill, working out to around $84,000 for a three-month course of treatment.
Shkreli has found himself on the wrong side of public opinion before. In 2012, he was accused of trying to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to withhold approval of new drugs from companies whose stock his hedge fund, MSMB, was shorting.
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