Drug's Price Hike From $16 to $360 Doesn't Last

But CEO behind another huge price hike stands firm
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2015 1:14 AM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2015 2:03 AM CDT
Massive Drug Price Increase Rolled Back
The "Wall Street Journal" reports the capsules are sold in a 30-pill blister pack.   (Shutterstock)

A huge hike in the price of a tuberculosis drug has been rolled back amid an outcry over the 5,000% leap in the price of another drug. A nonprofit group affiliated with Purdue University sold the rights to cycloserine to Rodelis Therapeutics on Aug. 19, but it demanded them back after Rodelis raised the price from $16 per capsule to $360, report the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The chief of the Purdue Research Foundation says Rodelis on Saturday returned the rights to the obscure drug, which treats drug-resistant tuberculosis but is only used by around 40 Americans every year, the Times reports. The foundation now plans to charge $35 a capsule to recover more of the costs associated with producing the drug; the not-for-profit had been losing $1 million annually on cycloserine, per the Journal.

Turing Pharmaceuticals chief Martin Shkreli, however, has refused to back down from the huge increase in the price of toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim despite heavy criticism. Hillary Clinton tweeted yesterday that the "price gouging" is outrageous and that she's going to introduce a plan to combat it. Biotech shares plunged after Clinton's announcement, Bloomberg reports, and analysts say the controversy may help end the practice of buying up rare drugs and hiking the price. Shkreli "bought this patent and he's milking it for all it's worth. In a way, I thank him, because it's really sort of like putting a sign on your back saying, 'Kick me,'" Princeton health care economist Uwe Reinhardt tells the Washington Post. "Sometimes you need some sentinel effect that wakes people up." (Read more about what's happening with Daraprim here.)

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