Daraprim price hike may be drastic but doctors say drug price increases not unusual

(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS) - This week pharmaceutical company, Turing, came under fire after it jacked up its drug prices. The company raised the cost of the drug Daraprim by nearly 5000%. Doctors at Carilion Clinic said the impact on the Roanoke Valley would be minimal.

"Most people are under the misconception that it is a drug for HIV," said Dr. Thomas Kerkering, Infectious Disease Specialist. "It is not a drug to treat HIV, it is a drug to treat one of the opportnistic infections associated with HIV. "We don't see that infection as frequently anymore."

Recently the company behind Daraprim hiked up prices from $18 to $750 a dose. The move sparked public outcry. While it was a drastic change, doctors said price increases are not unusal.

"Prices can increase 8 to 10 fold overnight without warning or explanation," said Dr. Marissa Williams, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

Williams said drug shortages and other factors can drive up medication costs. She said, in many cases, companies will offer patient assistance programs.

In response to public outcry, Turing reps said the company will lower the cost of Daraprim. They are expected to announce a new price within a couple of weeks.