Drug price hikes a bitter pill to swallow

Drug price hikes a bitter pill to swallow

Martin Shkreli became the "most hated man on the internet" after his firm increased the price of a drug used to treat Aids as well as some forms of cancer

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Activists hold signs containing the image of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli in front the building that houses Turing's offices, in New York, during a protest highlighting pharmaceutical drug pricing.
Photo; AP

Martin Shkreli became the "most hated man on the internet" after his firm increased the price of a drug used to treat Aids as well as some forms of cancer.

It raised the price of Daraprim by 5,000 per cent, from US$13.50 to US$750 a pill. Shkreli was condemned online for trying to make money from patients who desperately needed the medication.

Shkreli basically "owns" Daraprim. His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, recently obtained the rights to sell the drug - apparently at whatever price he wishes.

But his actions have re-opened a debate on intellectual property (IP) rights - should the government be able to intervene in such cases?

Copyright laws encourage innovation so that people can make money from their ideas. But IP rights should be based on the welfare of society. Everyone should be entitled to take advantage of the planet's natural resources.

IP rights remain a controversial topic. We all know that Shkreli was wrong to raise the price of the drug but was it illegal? We don't know the answer.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bitter pill to swallow

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