BUSINESS

Martin Shkreli Will Lower Daraprim Drug Price After Hiking It From $13.50 To $750

09/23/2015 05:03 EDT | Updated 09/23/2015 05:59 EDT

Just a day after he defended his controversial decision, embattled pharma boss Martin Shkreli has decided to lower the price of a drug he hiked from $13.50 to $750 per dose.

Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, told NBC News on Tuesday that he will drop the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat an infectious condition known as toxoplasmosis, which affects AIDS patients and people with weak immune systems.

Earlier, he justified the drug's 5,400 per cent price hike by saying he needed to make a profit on it, and that his company is spending "millions of dollars" to improve it.

But the decision turned him into an Internet pariah, with one Vanity Fair contributing editor calling him the "personification of evil."

On Tuesday, Shkreli told NBC News in a phone interview that his decision to lower the price is "absolutely a reaction" to the public backlash. But he didn't specify how much the drug's price would come down.

"There were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action," he said. "I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people."

Though the move came as a reaction to Internet outrage, Samantha Allen at The Daily Beast argued that he's "conceding that his attempts to justify the hike over the past few days were deceptive."

She said a number of infectious disease specialists told The Daily Beast that Shkreli could have improved toxoplasmosis treatments through more ethical means.

One of them, Dr. Nick Bennett, medical director of infectious disease and immunology at Connecticut Children's Hospital, said Shkreli "does not know what he's talking about" after examining his statements on the drug's effectiveness.

"So for him to argue that the costs are justified to develop a toxoplasmosis drug is ludicrous," he said.

This isn't the first time that Shkreli has found himself at the centre of a controversy.

Three years ago, he was accused of spreading inaccurate information about drugs owned by companies he was short-selling on the stock market.

This year, he is also involved in a lawsuit with Retrophin, his former company, which has accused him of using its cash to pay off investors in another hedge fund.

Shkreli has defended himself by saying Retrophin's board approved all his actions.

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