Teachable Moment: Turing Should Listen to Pharma Company, Reverse Price Hikes on Daraprim

Brandon Lorenz

Today HRC released the following statement after the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals indicated in testimony before the Senate Aging Committee that its strategy to hike drug prices was a mistake.

“Today’s testimony is a reminder that too many people living with HIV still face far too many barriers when it comes to accessing the care they need,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “Today, the CEO of Valeant said what Martin Shkreli refused to -- that massive overnight price hikes for vulnerable patients are completely indefensible. Because when companies like Turing jack up the price of drugs, it means reduced access and higher costs for patients and taxpayers. Turing needs to restore the price of Daraprim across the board for all patients and other pharmaceutical companies should take note”

NPR News reported earlier this year how executives inside Turing celebrated their decision to hike the price of Daraprim -- which is used by pregnant women and people living with HIV. NPR reported that, “Company officials went into celebration mode,” according to emails uncovered by congressional investigators. The emails also show how Turing plotted to cynically pit insurance companies against HIV/AIDS patients in order to maintain the 5000 percent cost increase.

HRC has called for Turing to restore the price for all patients to the previous price of $13.50. At HRC’s urging, the the New York attorney general began investigating whether Turing Pharmaceuticals may have violated antitrust laws by limiting distribution of a drug that is essential to the lives of medically vulnerable people.

In addition, HRC sent letters to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, seeking an investigation into the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which increased the price of Daraprim overnight from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.

The letters also called for an inquiry into Turing’s acquisition of Daraprim, the pricing strategy for the drug, investments made to bring the drug to market, the impact of that strategy on patient access, and the increased cost to federally-funded health programs. And they requested a hearing on formulary and tiering structure for prescription medications offered through health exchanges.

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