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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 872, 30 September 2015: Organise, strike, resist!

Search site for keywords: Health - NHS - Drugs - Profit - Healthcare - AIDS

Gouging boss demands 5,000% price hike for life-saving drug

Michael Wrack, NHS healthcare assistant

Ordinary people were shocked and disgusted by a gouging capitalist's sudden 5,000% increase in the price of a life-saving drug last month.

'Daraprim' is used to treat the parasitic blood disease toxoplasmosis. Infection is life threatening for those with weakened immune systems.


This includes Aids patients, newborns and unborn children whose mothers are infected. Also cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy, and people recovering from organ transplant.

Most of us would have nothing but empathy for people in such situations. But Martin Shkreli, chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, seems only to care how he can profit from their misery.

His firm bought the rights to produce and distribute Daraprim. Shkreli then immediately raised the cost from $13.50 per pill - to $750.

Under any logical system this would be seen as the action of a sociopath. But under the rules of capitalism, Shkreli is a successful businessman!


Outrageously, he has said any drop in the new price will be paid for by cuts to research funding and jobs.

The past few years have seen steep rises in the cost of many drugs. This includes some used to treat tuberculosis, heart disease, and hepatitis C.

And Britain is no exception. 'Dasatinib', used to treat leukaemia, is sold to the NHS at 100 times as much as it costs to make.

The Socialist Party says: nationalise the profiteering drugs companies. Kick all privatisers out of the NHS. For a fully funded and integrated, publicly owned, free health service for all.

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