A lot of people are very angry with Martin Shkreli. Shkreli is CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Turing recently purchased the rights to Daraprim, a drug that treats toxoplasmosis, a condition that poses the greatest threat to people with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS patients. 4,400 people are hospitalized with the condition each year in the US, and about 327 people die on average each year. Once Turing acquired Daraprim, it promptly raised the price from $13.50 per pill to $750. Turing and Shkreli claimed that the price increase was necessary to make a profit and to pay for research and development into new toxoplasmosis drugs, but the medical establishment and the public strongly disagree. Dr. David Relman, chief of infectious diseases at VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, told Fortune:
We are not in dire need of new drugs for toxoplasmosis right now. There is no significant drug resistance problem with toxoplasmosis. We do not need them to be undertaking some self-serving marketing campaign. There is no public health need for such. This is simply about greed.
The HIV Medicine Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America concurred, writing a joint letter condemning the move. But in going after Shkreli and Turing individually, we’re collectively missing the point–they are a symptom of a much larger prescription drug problem in America.