October 22, 2015
1 min read
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Organizations want Turing to uphold Daraprim repricing commitment

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An open letter signed by 152 health organizations and individuals is calling for Turing Pharmaceuticals to immediately uphold its commitment to lower the price of Daraprim and improve access to the treatment.

“Many individuals with toxoplasmosis in the United States are left without access to the preferred treatment for a condition that if not effectively treated can cause blindness, brain and organ damage or death,” the organizations wrote. “Patients already affected by the failure of Turing Pharmaceuticals to act on its commitment include pregnant women, children, infants, people with HIV and others with compromised immune systems across the country.”

Public focus shifted to Turing after the price of the recently acquired Daraprim (pyrimethamine) jumped from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet in August, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA). Although representatives of the pharmaceutical company confirmed upcoming adjustments to the price of the treatment approximately 1 month ago, no pricing changes have yet been made.

According to the letter, which is signed by organizations representing 29 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, current availability of pyrimethamine is also an issue. Its current classification as a “specialty drug” and a controlled distribution system requiring purchase through Walgreen’s Specialty Pharmacy “create high and unreasonable hurdles” for those in need of the treatment, they wrote.

In addition, the signing organizations called upon Turing to:

  • reduce the price of pyrimethamine to a level resembling its previous value;
  • provide parity on pricing for inpatient and outpatient settings;
  • offer support within the patient assistance program to those with incomes up to five times the federal poverty level;
  • provide transparency regarding eligibility and documentation for patient assistance and co-pay assistance programs;
  • cover maximum out-of-pocket costs on payments allowable under the Affordable Care Act; and
  • ensure same-day, direct access to the drug.

“The unjustifiable actions taken to leverage the value of an effective 70-year-old medication are jeopardizing the health of individuals with a serious, life-threatening condition,” the organizations wrote. “The individuals do not have the luxury of time to wait for promised new treatments — which also will likely be priced out of reach.”