Doctors respond to Turing drug price hike: 'It's scare mongering'

Fortune | Laura Lorenzetti

Infectious disease doctors aren’t impressed.

Turing Pharmaceuticals has become the center of a media maelstrom after raising the price of its toxoplasmosis treatment Daraprim by over 5,000% after acquiring the drug in August. The attention has put CEO Martin Shkreli on a public relations defensive. He’s appeared on Bloomberg and CNBC, and in a statement to media outlets, he’s justified the hike, saying that Turing plans to use the increased revenues toward new treatments for toxoplasmosis with hopes to “eradicate the disease.”

The response from the medical community has been swift and pointed, calling out Shkreli for what it believes are uninformed reasons for the price boost to $750 a pill from $13.50.

We are not in dire need of new drugs for toxoplasmosis right now,” says Dr. David Relman, chief of infectious diseases for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California. “There’s no public health need for such. This is simply about greed.”

Along with Relman, Fortune talked with other leading infectious disease doctors who have examined a number of errors they say Turing has used to defend its decision and why that could ultimately harm patients.

1. This is an old drug, and the industry can find a better solution.

Daraprim, the brand name for a drug known commonly as pyrimethamne, has a “perfectly acceptable” clinical profile, says Dr. Relman. Continue reading