The following piece mainly serves as a device for expressing the author’s opinion based on pre-requisite information that the author was able to gather. The piece does not condemn any immoral actions (if proven) that would jeopardize public’s benefit and health. This piece also does not launch an attack on any individuals mentioned.
Having made headlines on many social media platforms, the Zika virus is a pathogen supposedly infects humans and can cause premature births or births with deformities through the medium of mosquitos. Now, currently, the vaccine research is on-going, and the progress is rather slow. Hypothetically speaking, if someone managed to grab hold of a cure or a drug that was purportedly the frontier to battle Zika, but he or she thought it was a good idea to raise the price of that drug to 500% its original price, would that upset the mass?
Martin Shkreli, born in 1983, the CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, is on almost everyone’s hit list due to his recent controversial activity. The guy has decided to skyrocket the price of Daraprim, a drug used to aid in cancer treatment, up to 5,556% of its original price and feels no shame nor remorse executing his idea. A plenty of reports from media outlets compare Martin to a bad boy and some state that Shkreli has no heart or something of an equivalent value.
Is it true that he has no heart? Or is there something underlying the controversy? In a recent interview with VICE (available on YouTube), Martin Shkreli shared a glimpse of his justifications on why he raised the price of such a crucial cancer treatment drug. This is what I have learned from hearing his side of the story:
Shkreli has borne witness to the way drug pharmacies ripping off cold-hard cash from their clients by buying the actual drugs at a batch price then selling the drugs with a propelled price to the masses. Pharma bad boy, as people call him, decided to buy Daraprim and give those pharmacies a taste of their own medicine. Then, Martin raised the price of the drug to a whopping $750 per pill. He clarified during the interview that he simply did it to the drug pharmacies. This meant if pharmacies wanted to buy the drug to sell it commercially, they would have to pay that price. The public outcry rooted from the fact that they heard such an effective cancer treatment drug being raised from nearly nothing (in view of its usage) to an overpriced iPhone. What the public did not hear was why. Shkreli also added he would give the drug for free or for a reduced price if someone would contact him and tell him something like “Hey, can you spare me some Daraprim”.
From what is given above, we can give Shkreli the benefit of a doubt. Because for all he cares is that he can distribute the drug at a much lower price (almost close to none) to the public while maintain the high price for those rip-off pharmacies. Martin considers this a win-win situation where Martin plays the role of Robinhood and make tons of money.
The morally of the act is still being tossed around and has not reached an end. However, in lights of these facts, it is logical to reconsider our judgments towards Martin Shkreli, as he leans towards a Santa than whom people call Pharma Bad boy.
*** This post was published on March 2nd, 2016 @ 08:55PM. All rights reserved ***
By Nguyen Hoang Anh (pen name: Fugunagi)
Image courtesy of Q13 FOX