US-based Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has reportedly agreed to cut the price of a toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim (pyrimethamine) amid increasing protests at plans to increase it by 5,000%.
The price of the drug, acquired from Impax Laboratories in August for $55m, rocketed from $13.50 to $750.
Daraprim is the only FDA-approved drug to treat toxoplasmosis, when used in combination with sulfonamide and leucovorin.
Shkreli said the cost of the drug will be reduced but did not say what the new price would be and expected a decision to be made in the next few weeks.
Shkreli was quoted by ABC Newsas saying: "We’ve agreed to lower the price on Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit."
Shkreli has also defended the rise in the drug price by saying that the profits would be used in the research of new treatments.
When asked about the price raise by CBS News correspondent Don Dahler, Shkreli was quoted as saying: "Well, it depends on how you define so drastically. Because the drug was unprofitable at the former price, so any company selling it would be losing money. And at this price it’s a reasonable profit. Not excessive at all."
The company said in a statement that its main concern is ensuring that patients with toxoplasmosis have efficient and affordable access to Daraprim.
Toxoplasmosis affects people with compromised immune systems that are weakened by AIDS, chemotherapy and pregnancy.