It doesn’t take long to find examples of corporate greed in the pharmaceutical industry with companies creating medications that are unaffordable or have dangerous side effects. Recently, there was a particularly shocking case in the news. The drug, Daraprim, which has treated a life-threatening parasitic infection affecting many HIV and organ transplant patients for the past 62 years, suddenly went up in price from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet. How did this drastic price increase happen? The rights to sell the drug were purchased by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company run by a former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, and then the company instantly increased the price.
Why This Price Increase?
According to some experts, there is no clear reason why the price of this life-saving drug skyrocketed by 5000 percent. Critics say that the pharmaceutical company is taking advantage of the market. On the other hand, Shkreli stated that the company needed to increase costs in order to conduct studies to improve the drug, but their ability to even conduct this research has been questioned. Some drug prices have increased because of shortages. But most others, including the prices of drugs used to treat diseases such as cancer, hepatitis C and high cholesterol, have increased because of the money-making business strategy of buying old drugs with expired patents and rebranding them as high-priced “specialty drugs.”
This has caused widespread concern among infectious diseases experts that these types of price increases could put lives in danger from hospitals using cheaper, less effective medications. In addition, many patients may simply succumb to their infections because the annual cost of treatment for some of them could skyrocket to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, one HIV patient was not able to take Daraprim because it would cost him $37,000 a month. His doctor was able to eventually obtain a generic brand for $138 per month after considerable efforts.
Examples Of Other Drug Price Hikes
Other companies such as Rodelis Therapeutics have increased the price of Cycloserine, a drug used to treat tuberculosis that is resistant to other drugs, from $500 for 30 pills to $10,800. Rodelis simply justified the price increase by stating that the company needed to ensure a reliable and continued supply of the drug by investing. They further justified the increase by saying that they provided the drug free of cost to needy patients. In other cases, the price of heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress, went up by 525 percent and 212 percent respectively. Doxycycline, an antibiotic, went from $20 a bottle in October 2013 to $1,849 by April 2014.
A Dangerous Trend
These seemingly unjustified increases of drug prices constitute a dangerous trend not only because it puts millions of lives in danger, but also because it makes our healthcare system unsustainable by raising costs for everyone. To hold life-saving drugs hostage by drastically increasing prices without explanation truly exemplifies corporate greed on the part of pharmaceutical companies. In addition, some pharmaceutical companies create and market dangerous drugs that are suspected of causing harmful side effects to people. For certain medications, pharmaceutical companies do not fully warn consumers about the dangers of taking their drugs. Instead, they continue to pay doctors to promote the drugs, ignore warnings and tell people that their drugs are safe so that they can continue to generate profits.
Speak With A Dangerous Drug Lawyer
We at d’Oliveira and Associates are also concerned by pharmaceutical companies that put profits before the health of consumers or create dangerous drugs for people to use. If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects of taking a medication, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. Our firm is working with experienced dangerous drug lawyers who are investigating these cases. They may be able to file a dangerous drug lawsuit for you and they charge no fee unless you win an award or settlement. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us toll free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online.