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Australian Teens Stick It To 'Pharma Bro' Recreate Drug At Fraction Of Price

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posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 08:41 PM
In case you somehow missed it, Martin Shkreli aka "Pharma Bro" was the CEO of a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals which last year obtained the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim. Shkreli immediately upped the price of the drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill. The drug is on the WHO list of essential medicines and is used to treat among others, those with immune systems compromised by chemotherapy and the HIV virus.

Understandably, people in general frowned on the 56x price hike for a life saving drug. Snickering Shkreli quickly became known as "the most hated man in the world."

A team of 17 year-old chemistry students from Sydney Grammar School, working under the direction of their chemistry teacher, Dr. Malcolm Binns, and University of Sydney chemist Dr. Alice Williamson, made a project out of synthesizing a generic version of Daraprim (pyrimethamine).

Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney schoolboys take down Martin Shkreli, the 'most hated man in the world'

This is the second year that the University of Sydney's Open Source Malaria Consortium has done outreach work with Sydney Grammar. The consortium's guiding principle is to use publicly available drugs and medical approaches to cure malaria.

The students started with 17 grams of the raw material 2,4-chlorophenyl acetonitrile, also called (4-chlorophenyl)acetonitrile. You can buy it online at $36.50 for 100 grams.

To make the Daraprim, the boys worked through a number of steps with their chemistry teacher, Dr Malcolm Binns.

"We couldn't use the patented route as it involved dangerous reagents," he said.

Dr Williamson, Dr Binns and the boys had to find an innovative pathway from the starting compound to the end result.

They synthesised the end-product last week. Dr Williamson tested its purity in a spectrograph at university.

"It's one of the most beautiful spectrographs I've ever seen, actually," she said.

From the 17 grams starting material, the boys produced 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine, the chemical name of Daraprim.

"That's about $US110,000 worth of the drug," Dr Williams said, based on the price mark-up of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately, there are serious impediments to taking a generic for Daraprim to market in the US despite the drug being no longer protected by patent. For more info on the closed distribution model, in particular how it applies to Turing and Daraprim, check out this blog post.
edit on 2016-11-30 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 09:48 PM
Dont buy it

posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 09:59 PM
This is why we need teenagers to experiment with drugs.

posted on Nov, 30 2016 @ 10:04 PM

originally posted by: suvorov
Dont buy it

I don't need it, but why not buy it, the spectrograph analysis is equivalent or better?

Cheers - Dave

posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 12:06 AM
a reply to: theantediluvian

i kinda wonder if Shkreli might be doing this on purpose so as to raise awareness to how corrupt the industry is that he is even able to do this, after all he has a team of advisers who make sure he is aware that he could achieve such price hike without media attention if he just did it boiling frog method with small increases here and there over years time. yet instead he chooses to ignore them and make the hole hike instantly ensuring outrage. its like he wants the outrage....

posted on Dec, 1 2016 @ 04:00 AM
a reply to: NobodiesNormal

Thats one way to make a hyper-capitalist mercenary piece of filth seem like a halfway noble character.

Its about as legitimate as a three pound note though.

posted on Dec, 2 2016 @ 06:19 PM
a reply to: TrueBrit
i dont intend to make him seem noble at all, his actions are filth certainly, i was positing an idea to be considered, your vitriolic reaction has contributing nothing save the knowledge that you are hateful, good for you...

posted on Feb, 6 2017 @ 05:31 AM
a reply to: NobodiesNormal

I still don't know what Martin has done to be considered 'evil'. He is just making billionaires pay more for the drug. Normal people with and even without insurance won't be affected at all.

In fact Martin himself has at times stated that the system does suck, but it's how it works and he cannot do things any differently. But that having been said, absolutely no one is dying because of the price hike.

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