INDIANPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 24, 2015)-- The CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals faced intense backlash this week after hiking the price of the drug Daraprim by 5000 percent.
The 62-year-old drug is mainly used to treat life-threatening parasitic infection.
Healthcare professional says these drastic price hikes have been going on for years and they're thankful this one was big enough to get the entire country's attention. In the meantime, some hospitals are stuck paying the jacked up prices--hardships that could be passed down to patients.
Medication that thousands of people depend on to survive could soon be out of their reach--thanks to a trend being followed by pharmaceutical companies. Jacking up the price after they purchase the rights to old drugs. Turing purchased the rights to Daraprim last month.
"With no change in the raw materials, no change in the manufacturing process. Nothing that makes the drug even better so we kind of scratch our heads and we say how does this make sense," said St. Vincent Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Richard Fogel.
St. Vincent's parent company Ascension Health took a major hit to pay for drugs their patients rely on.
"We've seen about a $84 million annualized increase so in the past year an $84 million increase in the cost that we have to bare," said Dr. Fogel.
Dr. Fogel says that's money that could be going toward helping the poor and vulnerable.
Earlier this week, Turing's CEO, Martin Shkreli, defended his decision to hike the price of a Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill.
"Turing is a very small company. It's a new company, and we're not a profitable company, so for us to try and exist and maintain a profit, I think, is pretty reasonable," said Shkreli.
Ascension Health took their concerns to capitol hill last week. This issue now has the attention of presidential candidates.
"He looks like a spoiled brat," said Donald Trump.
"That is bad actors making a fortune off of people's misfortune," said Hillary Clinton.
Until what has now become a political issue is hashed out, the patients are left on the hook.
"Some people aren't going to be able to afford these drugs and they're going to have to make a choice between their food, or their housing and the drugs they need for their life. That strikes me as just not right," said Dr. Fogel.
Turing's CEO did agree to lower the price again after intense backlash, but it's not clear by how much.