Health Care

New York state warns drug company that raised prices

Martin Shkreli is CEO of Turing Pharmaecuticals.
Martin Shkreli is CEO of Turing Pharmaecuticals. Bloomberg News

Turing Pharmaceuticals was warned by New York’s attorney general that the distribution network for a rarely used cancer drug, whose 55-fold overnight price increase drew widespread criticism, may violate antitrust laws.

State officials made their concerns known to Turing and chief executive officer Martin Shkreli in an Oct. 12 letter. Turing’s decision to raise the price of the decades-old medicine, which it acquired in August, brought a storm of criticism, including from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose subsequent vow to reform the drug industry sent the biotech sector plummeting.

After acquiring the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim, Turing raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. The treatment is the only federally approved drug for a condition that can arise in patients with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS or cancer.

Shkreli initially defended the move, saying it was a bargain even at the higher price, since it can save a patient’s life within a limited amount of time. He later said he would lower the cost without saying by how much.

Bloomberg News