Martin Shkreli (aka the guy who tried to raise the price of a drug used in treating AIDS from $13.50 to $750 earlier this year) has been in the news a lot lately. Just today, reports surfaced that he had been arrested for conducting some sort of Ponzi scheme at one of his old jobs, and he is now in the custody of the FBI. However, another article that I came across also reported that, just as he tried to do with the AIDS drug, Shkreli is once again attempting to profit off of the misfortune of others by hiking up the price of another important drug treatment–this time, a disease that mainly targets immigrants from Latin America.

I find it so deplorable that making money off drug treatments–not to mention ones that are especially needed by low income patients–is such a profitable market. In this instance though, as has been seen before in history, particular groups are being targeted through their inability to pay for a treatment that affects large populations of similar people. Drug treatments are already expensive in America, and, to quote from the article,“Chagas [the disease that this treatment is for] is a disease of the poor. It’s not a disease where people have access if prices are high.”

This is just another case of the very rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, and, combined with the racial connotations of this particular disease, this issue moves beyond one that is purely about morals, and instead raises questions of racial motivations and prejudice that should definitely be investigated, especially considering the fact that Shkreli specifically targeted the AIDS community in his last use of this disgusting business model.

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2 responses »

  1. jivikar says:

    I totally agree that Shkreli’s actions are quite ridiculous but having taken a Bioethics course this semester, can confidently say this is not the most absurd of things that happens in the pharmaceutical industry. The average person honestly has no idea the kind of power money has in the industry, and it was truly shocking to learn that mediocre drugs that will make high profits are often chosen to be produced over good drugs that will make mediocre profits. If you are interested in some of the more choice eccentricities of the very broken “big pharma,” I would recommend reading Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients.” It’s quite long, but the essentials of the very informative 1st chapter are summarized in his two TED talks you can watch here: https://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_what_doctors_don_t_know_about_the_drugs_they_prescribe?language=en

  2. bobb73 says:

    Yeah its very upsetting to see this event take place. Pretty disastrous for many, this isn’t helping the AIDS community at all.

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