You're the former chief of a pharmaceutical manufacturer most famous for jacking the price of a vital drug from US $13.50 to US $750 per dose. You discover a bunch of Year 11 students in Sydney have managed to synthesise the same compound for about $2 a pop.  

Do you:

  1. Reconsider your former company's much-maligned pricing policies, or;
  2. Pick holes in the high school kids' achievement while stoking a futile and trollish flamewar?

If you're Martin Shkreli - who bloody else, really - the answer is most certainly 2. 

After news hit the 'Pharma Bro' that a cohort of switched-on kids at Sydney Grammar had created the key component of the anti-parasitic medication Daraprim, Shkreli took to Twitter to let the people know it's not really so big a deal. 

The former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO responded to a user who'd posted the original Sydney Morning Herald article on the matter by implying just about anyone can cook up small batches of life-saving medication on the cheap:


What followed were more casual dismissals of the students' work. Let us reiterate: the kids in question created pyrimethamine within school hours:


In response to commenters who asked why the hell Daraprim costs so much when Sydney Grammar just proved it can be created relatively cheaply, Shkreli leaned on the costs associated with getting drugs approved for human use:


In fairness, Shkreli did cede that he's "happy the kids are learning science," but "the inability for people to understand how drugs come to be made is frustrating."

The inability for most of his detractors to understand why American Daraprim-dependant patients without health insurance are forced to fork out triple-figures per tablet is frustrating, too. But hey.

Shkreli has said before that health insurers foot most of the deliberately-high bill so Turing can develop new products. Also, realistically speaking, making a drug is one thing, being able to sell it is another. 

But when people who can't even legally buy a froth are capable of creating it for a few bucks, you have to wonder why a pharmaceutical company would be unable to pass on even a portion of those savings to those who, you know, rely on the drug to live.


Source: Martin Shkreli / Twitter.
Photo: Tom Williams / Getty.