Pharma Guy Bows To Pressure, Will Lower Cost Of Price-Gouged AIDS Drug… Eventually (VIDEO)

After a beating from the media, the public, and after becoming a punching bag on Twitter (as well as a mini-toppling of biotech stocks thanks to a tweet from Hillary Clinton), founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, smarmy douchenozzle Martin Shkreli had announced that, at an unspecified point in the future, the company will lower the cost of the anti-parasite drug Daraprim.

The medication, which has been on the market 62 years and is used to treat toxoplasmosis — which is particularly deadly for AIDS and cancer patients — costs only about a dollar to produce. However, once Shkreli’s company acquired the patent, Turing immediately raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Despite days of defending the price increase as “underpriced” even at 5,500% its original cost, public pressure led Shkreli to promise to lower the price.

“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,” Shkreli told NBC News Tuesday.

“It’s very easy to see a large drug price increase and say ‘Gosh, those people must be gouging.’ But when you find out that the company is not really making any money, what does that mean?” Shkreli said. “It’s very hard stuff to understand.”

Though the drug was sold for decades and decades at a fraction of the hopefully-soon-to-be-abandoned cost, the original owners of the patent managed to scrape a profit from the sales at only 13.5 times the cost of production. Shkreli maintains that the price increase was solely intended to provide sufficient return to investors, as well as costs associated with  “the quality control, the regulatory costs, and all of the other things that come with having a drug company.”

As for when the cost will decrease, Shkreli is not exactly being forthcoming:

“We’ll know in several weeks how profitable the drug is, if it at all. It may turn out that’s it not even profitable at all, even at this price.”

He says the company hopes to break even or make a smaller profit while still appeasing a very upset public.

Despite the moral bankruptcy of Shkreli’s attempt to fleece a vulnerable portion of the population, there have been some positives that have arisen from this quagmire of f*ckery.  Bernie Sanders, who has been demanding a reining in of the pharmaceutical industry, along with Rep. Elijah Cummings, launched an investigation into Shkreli’s shady deal. The controversy also led Hillary Clinton to announce a plan to lower prescription drug costs.

“We’re going to add on to the good work that was done by the Affordable Care Act,” Clinton said as she announced her plan. “That is not the way the market is supposed to work. That is bad actors making a fortune off of people’s misfortune.” The presidential candidate says she will provide a boost to the FDA’s ability to approve generic drugs, as well as a reduction of intellectual property protections for more expensive drugs to allow generics to go into production faster. She also says she plans to allow Americans to import drugs from foreign countries where medication is cheaper, and will introduce a $250 per month cap on out-of-pocket patient costs. In addition, she would deny tax breaks for advertising and instead instruct drug companies to invest in research and development.

Sanders has already gotten started on some of Clinton’s promises. USA Today notes that the Vermont Senator  is sponsoring legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and allow patients to import drugs from Canada, which will save quite a bit of money at every level.

Shkreli may be a greasy-haired weasel of a man whose sole concern is the bottom line, but he has managed, though his greed, to start a much-needed national conversation about ethics in the pharmaceutical industry. Watch a report on the sniveling little man’s decision to maybe, almost do the right thing, below:

Featured Image via Mashable