Drug

San Diego’s Imprimis has introduced a compounded drug that sells for far less than Daraprim from Turing Pharmaceuticals. — John Gastaldo

By Bradley J. Fikes | Oct. 22, 2015 | Updated 6:23 p.m.
San Diego’s Imprimis has introduced a compounded drug that sells for far less than Daraprim from Turing Pharmaceuticals.

  • Turing Pharmaceuticals raised price of AIDS/cancer drug by 5,000 percent

Turing Pharmaceuticals sparked nationwide outrage and government investigations when it raised the cost of a generic drug used for AIDS and cancer from $13.50 to $750 a capsule.

Today, a San Diego biomedical company today introduced a competitor to that drug that sells for $1 a capsule.

Moreover, the company, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, plans to compete against other manufacturers who sell generic drugs far above their cost. Like Daraprim, these drugs tend to be used in niche markets that don’t attract much competition.

Turing’s drug, Daraprim, is a brand-name formulation of the generic drug pyrimethamine. Turing’s CEO, Martin Shkreli, gained notoriety last month when his company acquired the drug and raised the cost by 5,000 percent.

Imprimis’ version is a combination of pyrimethamine along with another generic, leucovorin, a form of folic acid. Leucovorin helps cancer patients cope with chemotherapy.

Turing isn’t the first company to suddenly raise the price of a generic drug. Valeant Pharmaceuticals became well-known for the practice. It raised the prices of two heart drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel, by a respective 212 percent and 525 percent immediately upon acquiring them.

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