Call it a win for Bernie Sanders and his fellow travelers. After a whirlwind start to the week, Martin Shkreli may soon shed the dubious honor of being dubbed "The Most Hated Man In America." Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, incited outrage far and wide when he recently announced that his company had purchased the rights to produce the drug Daraprim, which treats a life-threatening condition associated with AIDS. After the transaction, Shkreli gleefully announced that Turing would raise the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill. While the 32-year-old businessman initially defended the price increase in the face of massive backlash, he seems to have finally bowed to a legion of critics, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Sanders rose to the forefront of the political reaction to Turing's shenanigans, joining Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings in calling on Shkreli and his company to reconsider their current path. As noted by Newsweek, the men sent a letter to Turing, criticizing their maneuvers as "the latest in a long list of skyrocketing price increases for certain critical medications." According to U.K.-based news outlet the Independent, Sanders also set things in motion to look into the situation with Daraprim via Congressional inquiry.
Now, just a short time after the controversy kicked into overdrive, Martin Shkreli appears to have relented to pressure from Bernie Sanders and others. On Tuesday, he announced that Turing Pharmaceuticals will lower the price of Daraprim. Speaking to NBC News, Shkreli confirmed that the decision was a direct result of the popular outcry regarding the above-noted price hike.
"Yes it is absolutely a reaction — 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."Neither Shkreli nor Turing Pharmaceuticals have specified the new asking price for Daraprim.
NBC News notes that Daraprim is used to fight toxoplasmosis, which often affects people who immune situations have been weakened by AIDS, as well as chemotherapy and pregnancy. The drug was initially approved by the FDA in 1953.
Bernie Sanders has taken a stand on other matters related to health care and treatment costs during his campaign. On his official website, the candidate condemns drug makers as "a health hazard for the American people." Bernie Sanders has also drafted a six-point proposal to lower prescription drug prices for Americans.
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