• Drug in Bloodstream

Drug in Bloodstream (Photo : YouTube)

In response to public outrage over Turing Pharmaceuticals' recent 5,000 percent price hike of the generic cancer and HIV/AIDS drug Daraprim to $750 per-capsule, a California-based company that fills individual patient prescriptions announced on October 22, Thursday that it would offer a $1-per-pill low-cost alternative medication that contains the same active ingredients as the original 62-year-old medicine.

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 Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc. is based in San Diego, California. It is offering a 100-capsule bottle for a $99 price tag, which contains the same active ingredients as the original generic drug:  pyrimethamine and leucovorin.

Turing CEO Martin Shkreli, an ex-hedge fund manager, immediately jacked up the price of Daraprim after his company's acquisition of it last month. The price skyrocketed from $13.50-per pill to $750.

 Last month Turing spent $55 million for the rights to sell Daraprim. The 62-year-old medication has no competition on the pharmaceutical market, according to Daily Mail.

Imprimis CEO Mark Baum told the Associated Press that his 3 1/2-year-old drug-compounding firm has plans to start producing low-cost versions of other pricey medications. Its new program will be called Imprimis Cares. The pharma will team up with insurance companies to produce affordable versions of 7,800 Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved generic drugs, according to Time.

Baum said that Turing has the right to charge patients any amount for its drugs. However, there are more cost-effective options.

Daraprim treats a parasitic infection known as toxoplasmosis. It mainly affects pregnant women, cancer patients, and human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) patients.

Various other drug-makers have also purchased the legal rights to old, inexpensive medicines that are the only available treatments for severe diseases, and then launched a major price hike. Several patients are furious.

The situation involving "big pharma" has resulted in many actions. They include media attention, politicians' proposals, and government investigations.

This video reports the public response to Daraprim's price hike: