Infamous $750 Pill Is Undercut by $1 Alternative

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals is going after market for Shkreli's toxoplasmosis drug
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2015 8:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Martin Shkreli has been hemming and hawing about dropping the price of his company's toxoplasmosis drug since he raised it 5,000% in August, but it may be a moot point: A San Diego drug compounding company is now offering its own version of pyrimethamine for $1 a pill, a far cry from the $750 a pill Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals has been charging for Daraprim, the San Diego Tribune reports. Imprimis Pharmaceuticals also plans on taking on other companies "jacking the price up" on meds in niche markets with little or no competition, Imprimis CEO Mark Baum tells the AP. "While we respect Turing's right to charge patients and insurance companies whatever it believes is appropriate, there may be more cost-effective compounded options for medications such as Daraprim," Baum says in a press release.

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The Imprimis version of pyrimethamine is combined with leucovorin, a type of folic acid cancer patients take to alleviate chemo's effects, the Tribune notes. There's one caveat, per Baum: The drug's combined form doesn't have FDA approval (which can take years), though the individual ingredients do. As such, the only way the formulation can be legally obtained is via a doctor's prescription for the compound, per Reuters. By avoiding the long FDA approval process—and the millions of dollars that would need to go into that—Imprimis can keep costs low and actually turn a "significant profit," the Tribune adds. The company's new Imprimis Cares division will oversee the generic drugs it creates, Baum says, adding, "This is the tip of the iceberg." (Does this mean Bernie Sanders would accept a donation from Baum?)

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