On Thursday, Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, and some kind of human sponge designed to absorb all of the world's hatred, announced at an event held by Forbes that he thinks he should have raised the price of Daraprim higher. Daraprim is, of course, a $13.50 pill whose cost he raised to $750 back in September, even though it's a necessary medicine for AIDS and cancer patients.
He hasn't said how much higher, but presumably the cost he has in mind is "everything you hold dear," and then after he takes you for all you're worth, he'll do this:
Just kidding. Kind of.
He's still going around making a point about capitalism, and claiming that insurance companies absorb the cost, not the patients themselves. Here's the exact quote he gave after someone at a Q&A on Thursday asked him if he would have done anything differently earlier this year:
I probably would have raised the price higher is probably what I would have done. I think healthcare prices are inelastic. I could have raised it higher, and made more profits for our shareholders, which is my primary duty.
It's yet another unabashedly articulated version of a familiar kind of greed-is-good business logic: the goal of every CEO is to funnel as much money as humanly possible into the pockets of your shareholders, provided you don't run afoul of the law. According to Shkreli, that's what "we're all taught in MBA class."
"Try to be a CEO yourself. See how it goes," he said. The people with the right stuff to make it in his line of work—he claimed—are "people that are willing to make these hard choices, grow earnings for their shareholders, and again, try to do the right thing with those prices." Otherwise, he said, "try to maximize profits and not get kicked out of a company and let me know how that goes for you."
Last month, when he announced he wasn't lowering the price, his company's press release emphasized that while insurance companies would still take the hit, those paying out of pocket would be spared from financial ruin if they jumped through the right hoops to get a discount. He also pointed out on Thursday, "we did lower the price for hospital customers," along with releasing a smaller bottle of Daraprim. "We talked to our customers and that's what they want," he said.
But it appears that uninsured people making over $60,000 would still have to pay the full $750 a pill.
And it also looks like insurance companies' absorption of the astronomical cost of Daraprim doesn't necessarily mean insured consumers emerge unscathed. In July, when Insurance companies announced that for the year 2016, costs would need to rise by an average of 25 percent, they cited rising drug costs as a major cause.
Eye doctor and health business pundit Sreedhar Potarazu wrote back in August that, "the cost increases affect employers and insurers, who are transferring some of these costs to consumers, requiring them to pay a larger share through their monthly premiums and rising copays."
According to Potarazu this creates a situation in which patients "despite having health insurance and even government assistance to pay for it, are increasingly unable to pay for the care they need."
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