Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, who became the poster child for skyrocketing drug prices after his company raised the price of a lifesaving treatment, visited his critics in Washington Tuesday and reiterated his plan to “modestly lower” the price for Daraprim by the end of the year.
Shkreli still didn’t commit to a new price for the drug, which now costs $750 a pill, up from $13 a pill as recently as July. Earlier this week, in an hour-long video interview with an HIV activist, Shrkeli indicated that he may reduce Daraprim’s cost by about 10%–a small sum compared to the more than 5,000% price increase Turing put in place after it acquired to drug for $55 million in August.
A member of one of the groups with which Shkreli met, Sean Dickson, told the New York Times that he was pleased that the company is taking action but is wary given the lack of specifics.
“We don’t have any concrete understanding of the revised price or changes to patient assistance programs,” Dickerson, who works for the National Alliance of state & Territorial AIDS Directors, told the Times.
In the face of public outrage over the drastic price increase for Daraprim, Shkreli defended the company’s move, saying the price for the 62-year-old drug was in-line with other specialty medicines and profits would go towards research and development. However, within days, he gave in to ongoing pressure and said Turing would lower the price without confirming by how much or when.
After over a month of no price change, more than 150 organizations sent an open letter demanding the company make moves to lower the price and expand patient access programs. Shkreli met with several of those groups on Tuesday and provided a letter in response, which included a plan to expand its patient access program to provide Daraprim for free to those with incomes up to 500% of the federal poverty level.