Remember Martin Shkreli — the notorious “pharma bro” and the “most hated man in America” who prompted global outrage by increasing the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750, over 5,000 percent, last year and who kept smiling shamelessly before Congress while declining to answer hard-hitting questions about his corporate greed?
Well, a group of school boys just gave the terrible human being a run for his money by recreating a key ingredient to make Daraprim, pyrimethamine, in their school’s science laboratory.
It’s as incredible as it sounds.
The children, all aged 17, of Sydney Grammar reproduced 3.7 grams of the compound with the help of advisors from the University of Sydney and the Open Source Malaria project – for just $20. The same amount in the U.S. could cost around $110,000.
“I couldn’t get this story out of my head, it just seemed so unfair especially since the drug is so cheap to make and had been sold so cheaply for so long,” Dr. Alice Williamson, a University of Sydney research chemist, told The Guardian.
“I said ‘Why don’t we get students to make Daraprim in the lab,’ because to me the route looked pretty simple. I thought if we could show that students could make it in the lab with no real training, we could really show how ridiculous this price hike was and that there was no way it could be justified.”
"It seems totally unjustified and ethically wrong," commented a student, James Wood, on Shkreli’s unjustified price hike. "It's a life-saving drug and so many people can't afford it."
Shkreli acquired exclusive rights to Daraprim last year when he was the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. After a lot of controversy, including Shkreli’s arrest last December on allegations of securities fraud, after which he stepped down as the head of Turing, the firm agreed to lower the price of the dug to make it more affordable.
While people all over the world are lauding the school children’s efforts, Shkreli, being the despicable person that he is, is being critical of the students:
@nedavanovac lol how is that showing anyone up? almost any drug can be made at small scale for a low price. glad it makes u feel good tho.— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 1, 2016
However, nobody really cares what Shkreli thinks. Thankfully.