A bunch of Aussie schoolkids produced a $2-a-pill version of a super-expensive anti-parasitic drug ($750 per dose), and the man behind the latter drug's huge price hike is now praising their efforts, Reuters reports. In a YouTube video directed toward students at Sydney Grammar School, ex-Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli says he's "delighted" that students are increasingly entering STEM fields and offers congratulations to this specific group, saying they're "proof that the 21st-century economy will solve problems of human suffering through science and technology." He also praises his own inventing efforts. "Not long ago I was an enterprising young scientist student," he says, talking up what he says has been the success of a clinical trial he started at NYU, as well as a medicine he says he invented that's soon to enter clinical trials.
It's a bit of a turnaround from his earlier take on the story, when he posted a snarky comment on Twitter Wednesday about the kids' accomplishment, followed by another eye-rolling post on Thursday. "These kids who 'made Daraprim' (remind) me of Ahmed who 'made the clock'. Dumb journalists want a feel good story," he tweeted. One of the students tells the Australia version of the Guardian that they were able to use "simple school-available chemicals" to upend Shkreli's "overpriced method" and that he's just an "attention-seeking businessman." Meanwhile, Quartz delves into the legalities of why Daraprim remains so costly if a bunch of schoolkids can produce it on the cheap, observing, "Sadly, barring Shkreli's lack of nuance, he does have a point." (Shkreli fulfilled a musical promise after Donald Trump's victory.)