Martin Shkreli has been much in the news recently over his acquisition of Daraprim and hideously jacking its price up several hundred fold, but this shameful behavior is nothing new, as described in the above link. I’m especially outraged at Shkreli because i know how awful toxoplasmosis can be since Allen lost a significant chunk of his brain function to it in 1988, making his last six months of life even more difficult for both of us.
A particularly egregious case of drug price manipulation not covered in the above link, and one with which i was personally involved, is that of Abbott’s Norvir. Here’s a link to a 2007 article in POZ magazine, which quotes extensively from a Wall Street Journal front-page expose on January 3, 2007.
Do click on those links. The one to POZ is of course more patient/drug-activist oriented, but both detail Abbott’s dishonesty and avarice.
So what’s my involvement? Well, i was one of the patients who were briefly on the full 1200 mg. daily dose of Norvir before the side effects drove us off and we switched to 100 mg in combination with other drugs.
A point not directly covered in either of the above articles requires my giving you a little help with the math. Before Abbott quintupled the price, Norvir was wholesaling at $615.60/month for the full dose. Not, of course that anyone was taking the full dose by then, it having been discovered that 1/12th of that dose avoided the dreadful side effects while providing the benefit of potentiating the other AIDS meds.
So a factor not mentioned in the above links was that folks were getting the benefit of Norvir at 1/12th the price of the full dose, a terrible impact on Abbott’s profits. I guess we should have been grateful that Abbott only quintupled the price rather that upping it 1200%.
Meanwhile, i went digging back through my photo files hunting for something sufficiently horrible to illustrate this post and finally found this one from last August. That’s Shkreli in the middle after all his juices had been slowly sucked out.