32-year-old CEO Martin Shkreli has once again acquired the rights to an important lifesaving drug — only to announce plans to increase the price astronomically.
Earlier this year, Shkreli became public enemy number one when he jacked up the price of Daraprim, a drug used by some HIV patients, from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.
A major backlash ensued, and when the dust finally settled, Shkreli’s company reported a net loss of $14.6 million as a result of his greed.
But apparently he didn’t learn his lesson — because he just bought the rights to another drug, and he plans on doing the exact same thing again.
Benznidazole is used to treat the potentially fatal parasitic infection Chagas disease. Currently, a two-month course of the medicine goes for about $50 to $100 in Latin America.
Shkreli says he hopes to get FDA approval so he can sell the drug in the U.S. and he wants to charge patients $80,000 for it.
Yes, you read that correctly: $80,000.
Not $800. Not even $8,000. But $80,000.
That’s nearly double the average annual salary of a public school teacher in the United States.
Naturally, people within the medical community are furious over this news.
“It’s caused a lot of angst in the Chagas community,” Dr. Sheba Meymandi, the director of a Chagas treatment center told the New York Times. “Everyone’s in an uproar.”
Meymandi called the price increase “devastating,” adding that “the people with Chagas for the most part are poor” and many don’t have health insurance.
Dr. Bernard Pécoul, executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, called Shkreli’s scheme “an abuse of the system.”
It’s estimated that roughly 300,000 people in the United States suffer from the disease.