- San Diego-based compounder Imprimis has formulated an inexpensive substitute for Daraprim (pyrimethamine), which recently went from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet after being acquired Martin Shkreli's Turing Pharma.
- Daraprim was initially introduced in 1953 as a treatment for parasitic diseases, including toxoplasmosis and malaria.
- Imprimis CEO Mark Baum would like to compound other old, generic drugs in order to supply them at reasonable costs to patients through the Imprimis Cares program.
In August of this year, Turing Pharmaceuticals, headed up by Martin Shkreli as CEO, acquired Daraprim (pyrimethamine) from Impax Labs. In September, Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price of the drug—which was approved 62 years ago, in 1953—from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Since then, it's been a cacophony of outrage against the price increase, with politicians and the media turing Shkreli into a poster boy for pharma-directed rage.
Even though Shkreli went on television and vowed to decrease the price about a month ago following the backlash, he has yet to announce what the new price will be. Perhaps it won't matter anymore, because Imprimis is intent on introducing its tablets, which is a combination of pyrimethamine with leucovorin, at $100 for a 99-count bottle.
While this is excellent from a patient access perspective and Baum's vision is a perfect response to companies like Turing and Valeant, which rely on the model of raising the prices of old drugs, there may be challenges related to the additional scrutiny that compounders are getting since the major meningitis outbreak at the New England Compounding Center in 2012, which led to related criminal convictions last year.
Nonetheless, Imprimis is moving forward with its plans. The pyrimethamine-leucovorin combo formulation is available and can be ordered over the phone, as long as a patient has a prescription from a qualified healthcare provider.