Time for a bit of damage control!
On Monday Martin Shkreli — the former hedge fund manager and current CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals announced that he’d be raising the price of the recently purchased drug Daraprim — a medication that helps people with weakened immune system such as AIDS patients or pregnant women.
There was a huge public outcry after people learned he was raising the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill!
Well apparently he’s had a change of heart as the CEO announced he would be lowering the price, saying the new cost would be figured out in the next few weeks.
His decision to flip flop isn’t surprising; he faced an understandably vicious backlash after the 5500% increase was reported. He said:
“Yes it is absolutely a reaction ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people.”
In the last couple days, the 32-year-old has tried to protect himself from all the hate thrown his way, even going so far as making his Twitter account private.
When speaking about the reaction to his decision, Shkreli said:
“I think in the society we live in today it’s easy to want to villainize people, and obviously we’re in an election cycle where this is very, very tough topic for people and it’s very sensitive. And I understand the outrage.”
He originally tried to justify his decision by talking about how the price hike would help his company develop similar drugs without as many side effects, explaining:
“It’s very easy to see a large drug price increase and say ‘Gosh, those people must be gouging.’ But when you find out that the company is not really making any money, what does that mean? It’s very hard stuff to understand.”
We actually don’t think it’s THAT hard to understand. There’s an inelastic demand for medication that helps sick people survive — they simply need it, so he figured he could squeeze a ton more money out of them.
We’re just glad that he’s decided to change his mind, even if this decision is also motivated by self interest — of not being seen as the world’s biggest jerk.
[Image via Bloomberg TV.]