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Last month, the cost of a drug vital to fighting a type of parasitic infection skyrocketed from $13.50 per pill to $750, well over a 5,000% increase.

Martin Shkreli, C.E.O. of Turing Pharmaceutical, rationalized the outrageous price increase by claiming that the drug Daraprim, which is used to combat the effects of toxoplasmosis caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, is only used rarely so that justifies the huge increase in price in order to fund research into more effective treatments. But this is complete bullshit.

“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She said the price increase could force hospitals to use “alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.”

Turing’s price increase is not an isolated example. While most of the attention on pharmaceutical prices has been on new drugs for diseases like cancer, hepatitis C and high cholesterol, there is also growing concern about huge price increases on older drugs, some of them generic, that have long been mainstays of treatment.

And that’s only part of a pattern, according to the New York Times.

Although some price increases have been caused by shortages, others have resulted from a business strategy of buying old neglected drugs and turning them into high-priced “specialty drugs.”

Cycloserine, a drug used to treat dangerous multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, was just increased in price to $10,800 for 30 pills from $500 after its acquisition by Rodelis Therapeutics. Scott Spencer, general manager of Rodelis, said the company needed to invest to make sure the supply of the drug remained reliable. He said the company provided the drug free to certain needy patients.

But the drug was already available in reliable quantities. Spencer is simply price-gouging patients, knowing they have no choice but to pay up if they want to live. After all, neither Congress or the dictator are interested in reigning in out of control health care costs.

If we had a single-payer system like other advanced nations do, things like this wouldn’t be happening. Instead, we have a system in which private insurers and drug companies are allowed to gouge the sick and injured for medicines they desperately need.

This shit is downright criminal, or ought to be.

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