After Turing Pharmaceuticals' Outrageous Price Hike on Life-Saving Drug, Low-Cost Alternative Emerges

Express Scripts and Imprimis Pharmaceuticals announce partnership for low-cost alternative in response to unconscionable decision from Martin Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals to continue price hike on Daraprim

WASHINGTON - December 1, 2015 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization issued the following statement on news that Express Scripts will partner with Imprimis Pharmaceuticals to offer a low-cost alternative to Daraprim, a lifesaving treatment for people living with HIV. Two months ago, Turing Pharmaceuticals' CEO Martin Shkreli bought the rights to Daraprim and hiked the price of this crucial drug by 5,000 percent overnight.

"This is a positive development that will improve access to lifesaving treatment for many patients, including people living with HIV and pregnant women," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "It doesn't change the troubling fact that Martin Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals despicably preyed on vulnerable patients in an effort to turn a profit. Lawmakers should seek answers, hold Turing and Shkreli to account and ensure this can't happen again."

Just before Thanksgiving, Turing Pharmaceuticals' Martin Shkreli announced that he would continue the price hike on Daraprim – a crucial treatment for people living with HIV, pregnant women, and others with weakened immune systems.  The announcement came two months after the company first made headlines for an outrageous 5,000 percent price increase on Daraprim, which took the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill overnight. Express Scripts announced their alternative will be made available for as low as $1 per capsule for people whose pharmacy benefit is managed by the company.

Last month, at HRC's urging, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began investigating whether Turing Pharmaceuticals may have violated antitrust laws by limiting distribution of a drug that is essential to the lives of medically vulnerable people. HRC also sent letters to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, seeking an investigation into the unconscionable action of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The letters also called for an inquiry into Turing's acquisition of Daraprim, the pricing strategy for the drug, investments made to bring the drug to market, the impact of that strategy on patient access, and the increased cost to federally-funded health programs. And they requested a hearing on formulary and tiering structure for prescription medications offered through health exchanges.

HRC also joined 151 other organizations from across the nation in signing an open letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals urging company CEO Martin Shkreli to restore the original price for Daraprim.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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