Martin Shkreli, affectionately known to the internet as the “Pharma Bro” made waves last month when he decided raising the price of life-saving drug Daraprim by 5500% (from $13.50 to $750) was a really cool thing to do. Shkreli justified this unprecedented price hike because, well, people would pay more for the drug because it would save their lives.
Shkreli’s business philosophy is simple – there is supply, and there is demand. When demand is high and you have the supplies, you can pretty much charge whatever the hell you want. So Shkreli did just that, and pretended it would be the best for everyone if he and his company Turing Pharmaceuticals, made millions off of other people’s suffering.
Unfortunately for Shkreli, another drugs company is stepping into the game and increasing the supply of Daraprim and charging a whopping $749 less for it. Reports the AP:
Stepping into the furor over eye-popping price spikes for old generic medicines, a maker of compounded drugs will begin selling $1 doses of Daraprim, whose price recently was jacked up to $750 per pill by Turing Pharmaceuticals.
San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc., which mixes approved drug ingredients to fill individual patient prescriptions, said Thursday it will supply capsules containing Daraprim’s active ingredients, pyrimethamine and leucovorin, for $99 for a 100-capsule bottle, via its site: www.imprimiscares.com.
Imprimis is also pledging to undercut other drugs companies engaging in price gouging. “We are looking at all of these cases where the sole-source generic companies are jacking the price way up,” said Chief Executive Mark Baum “There’ll be many more of these.”
This is of course a brilliant PR move by Imprimis, but one has to applaud their efforts – no matter how self interested they may turn out to be – to treat patients fairly and take down one of the biggest douchebags in history. Shkreli, who is no doubt aware of the huge irony here, must be kicking himself for not seeing this coming.
Capitalism in its current form is a deeply flawed operating system for human societies. When there is no mechanism to regulate free markets, sharks like Shkreli can come in and game the system for their own benefit at the expense of everyone else. But sometimes, those lack of rules can be used against the sharks, and the system accidentally ‘works’ when smarter greed defeats grotesque greed and a semblance of balance is restored.
Of course this is not the answer to systemic price gouging in the pharmaceutical industry – smart regulation is – but it sure is satisfying.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.