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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 25, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 39
HRC asks New York Attorney General to investigate pharmaceutical CEO
Section One
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HRC asks New York Attorney General to investigate pharmaceutical CEO

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli may soon be in even more legal trouble after the HRC asked New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate Shkreli's plan to hike the price of a potentially life-saving drug more than 5,000%.

As reported in this week's SGN, Shkreli recently acquired the rights to Daraprim, a drug often used by HIV/AIDS patients, and said he was going to increase the price from $13.50 per dose to $750.

He is also being sued by investors in his former company, who charge him with using company assets to reimburse his hedge fund clients.

In a September 22 interview with ABC News, Shkreli tried to walk back his earlier statements about raising the price of Daraprim.

'We have agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable,' he said, without making a specific commitment as to what the new price would be.

The HRC responded with a letter to Schneiderman asking him to investigate whether Shkreli's actions constitute illegal price-gouging.

'Daraprim is a lifesaving treatment for toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection impacting patients with compromised immune systems including those who are pregnant or living with HIV,' HRC CEO Chad Griffin wrote.

'Medical organizations have estimated that this predatory move could increase the average cost per year for an adult patient reliant on the drug to more than $630,000. The burden of this extra cost will undoubtedly be shouldered by the most vulnerable members of our community. This price increase is wholly unjustified and unprecedented. We urge your office to conduct a thorough investigation of Turing Pharmaceuticals' irresponsible and shameless price increase and assess whether these dubious actions violate New York state law. We also urge you to take all steps within your power to hold Turing Pharmaceuticals accountable and communicate to all companies doing business in New York that making such drastic changes on the backs of those most vulnerable are not welcome in the Empire State.'

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical lobbying group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said that Shkreli and his companies were never part of the group and do not represent the values of its member companies.

The lobbying group's CEO, John Castellani, wrote in an email that 'we do not embrace either their recent actions or the conduct of their CEO [Martin Shkreli].'

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