Does the name Martin Shkreli ring a bell? He’s the guy who, essentially overnight, raised the price of the drug prescribed to patients with HIV, malaria, and chemotherapy. It was raised from $13.50 to $750, a whopping 5000 percent increase!
Naturally, he became a social outcast after this. He received public hate from ex-girlfriends, friends, and even strangers. The hostility shook Shkreli at first. He went off-line for a while and shutdown his Twitter. Eventually though, he started welcoming the heat and feeding off it.
In the grand scheme of things, he was simply profiting off of people’s health. This is done by drug and insurance companies every single day. In Shkreli’s case though, he became the poster child of this selfishness at the sacrifice of people’s wallets. He took the animosity with a grain of salt and allowed the “fuck yous” to, instead, pleasantly wash over him.
However, he may now want to get off his high horse. This is because a group of 17 year-old high schoolers just duplicated his anti-parasitic drug, Daraprim. The recreated drug is now worth a mere $2.
Sydney Grammar student Milan Leonard described to ABC about the moment the boys realized they’d replicated the drug in their school’s lab:
“After all of this time spent working and chemistry being such a high and low, after all the lows, after all the downs, being able to make this drug, it was pure bliss.”
Leonard’s classmate, Brandon Lee gave his input:
“At first there was definitely disbelief.
We spent so long and there were so many obstacles that we – not lost hope – but it surprised us like, ‘oh we actually made this material’ and, ‘this can actually help people out there’.
So it was definitely disbelief, but then it turned into happiness as we realized we finally got to our main goal.”
A research chemist from the University of Sydney, Dr. Alice Williamson, chimed in her remarks:
“The original route that we got – so the original recipe if you like to make this molecule – was from a patent that was referenced on Wikipedia.
Now of course we checked to see if it looked reasonable…but the route that was up actually had one step that involved a really dangerous chemical.
The boys had to navigate a difficult step and do this in a different way, and they’ve managed to do that, and they’ve managed to do that in their high school laboratory.”
The drug’s reproduction is not quite FDA approved yet. But, it may be only a matter of time until it is on the market for a much lower price!
And it’s true that karma is a bitch. In a later incident, Shkreli lost millions of dollars in a con involving rights to music. Click here to see.