It is not often that supply chain concerns are tied to the arrest of a pharma CEO, but then 32-year-old Martin Shkreli was a different kind of pharma CEO.
The former hedge fund manager was canned as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company he founded, after being charged last week with federal securities fraud. But the company is assuring suppliers that the events of the last week will not interrupt shipments of Daraprim, the drug that made Shkreli the poster boy for pharma greed after the company bought the drug and then raised its price by 5,000%. In addition, pharmacy chains and benefits managers are taking steps to ensure providers the drug or alternatives are available, Reuters reports.
After Shkreli's arrest, Turing sent out a letter to healthcare providers saying it is committed to patient access to the drug, Forbes reports. According to Reuters, Walgreens Boots Alliance ($WBA), the sole supplier, has also assured providers it has an inventory of the drug, which is prescribed to treat parasitic infections in AIDS patients, pregnant women and others.
Meanwhile, drug benefit managers CVS Health ($CVS) and Express Scripts ($ESRX) have both made arrangements with compounders that can provide alternative drugs and at a much lower price, about $1 a pill, instead of the $750 that Turing upped the price to after buying the drug from Impax Laboratories ($IPXL) in August for $55 million, Reuters reports. The drug had cost $13.50 a pill before Turing bought it. By federal law, however, compounders must have a specific prescription for each patient before they can produce the med, unlike drugmakers that can produce large quantities that can be dispensed as prescriptions come in.
Shkreli was arrested last week on charges that he had taken money and stock from an earlier company he had founded--Retrophin ($RTRX)--to pay personal expenses and cover claims related to his defunct hedge fund. But Shkreli gained notoriety after he mocked on social media anyone who questioned the company's decision to jump the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750. It was a pricing strategy he had used with drugs at Retrophin as well.