Australian Students Recreate Martin Shkreli Price-Hike Drug in School lab

Play VideoPlay Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 0:49 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% FullscreenMute Sydney students recreate life-saving drug that had 5,000% price hike Melissa Davey | The Guardian | November 30, 2016

Sydney Grammar students create HIV and malaria drug Daraprim in their school laboratory, putting results online

A group of Australian high school students have managed to recreate a life-saving drug that rose from US$13.50 to US$750 a tablet overnight after an unscrupulous price-hike by former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli. The Sydney Grammar students reproduced the drug, Daraprim, used to treat a rare but deadly parasitic infection, in their high school laboratory with support from the University of Sydney and global members of the Open Source Malaria consortium.

Dr Alice Williamson, a postdoctoral teaching fellow with the university’s school of chemistry, said she could not stop dwelling on the story of Shkreli, who acquired Daraprim last year through his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and almost immediately and exorbitantly hiked the price. The drug is used to treat malaria and to prevent toxoplasmosis infection in people with HIV. The move made him a public villain, a label he embraced as he also became known as “Pharma Bro”.

“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,” Williamson said. “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”...