The world is full of heroes and villains. We have the pleasure of witnessing a hero being born in ESRX. The white night has declared war on Dr. Evil himself, Martin Shkreli. ESRX will begin offering a $1/pill alternative for Daraprim, the drug infamously purchased by Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals, which in turn charged $750/pill. Aids patients around the world are rejoicing; they plan on using their surplus savings to send Shkreli mountains of elephant dung to his luxurious penthouse in Manhattan.
Express Scripts Holding Co. said in a statement that it’s partnering with Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego-based company specializing in compounded drugs. In October, Imprimis started making a medicine for as little as $1 a capsule that includes the active ingredient in Daraprim, pyrimethamine, together with a vitamin called leucovorin that Daraprim is usually used with.
Turing’s price increase for Daraprim, a decades-old drug that no longer enjoys patent protection, drew outrage from politicians, doctors and health insurers. By having a compounding pharmacy combine the two drugs, Express Scripts doesn’t need to wait for an FDA-approved direct competitor to Daraprim to come to market at a lower cost.
The $750-a-pill price “wasn’t acceptable,” Steve Miller, chief medical officer for Express Scripts, said in an interview Monday. Using a compounded drug is “a simple, elegant solution that gets desperate patients the drugs they need at an affordable price.” Miller said because Daraprim isn’t needed in large quantities, Imprimis should not have a supply problem.
How will Turing fair in the face of such competition?