SAN FRANCISCO - The company that sparked an angry backlash after it raised the price of a drug for treating a deadly parasitic infection by more than 5,000 percent says it will roll back some of the increase.
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli told ABC News on Tuesday that the new price would make Daraprim more accessible, although he did not say what the new price for the drug would be. A spokesman for Turing did not immediately respond to a request for details.
"We've agreed to lower the price of Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit," Shkreli told ABC.
The company obtained rights to sell the drug, the only U.S.-approved treatment for toxoplasmosis, in August. It hiked the price overnight from $13.50 per pill to $750.
Turing had said it would use profits to improve the drug's formulation and develop new, better drugs for the infection. It also stressed that some patients can get financial aid from the company to obtain the drug.
But the price hike sparked outrage from medical groups representing doctors who care for patients with HIV and other infectious diseases, because Daraprim treats patients with compromised immune systems.
Initially, Shrkeli fiercely defended the price hike. He told "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday the jump in cost was "not excessive at all."
"Why was it necessary to raise the price of Daraprim so drastically?" CBS News correspondent Don Dahler asked Shkreli.
"Well, it depends on how you define 'so drastically.' Because the drug was unprofitable at the former price, so any company selling it would be losing money. And at this price it's a reasonable profit. Not excessive at all," Shkreli responded.
Hillary Rodham Clinton called Turing's price hike "outrageous" in a tweet Monday. While campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president Tuesday, she outlined a broad plan aimed at holding down the cost of prescription drugs.
This isn't the first time that Shkreli has come under fire for substantially increasing the cost of a decades-old medication.
In 2014, Shkreli was CEO of Retrophin Inc. when it acquired the U.S. marketing rights to Thiola, which is used to treat a kidney disease. Retrophin moved to increase the price of the medication from $1.50 per pill to $30 each.
Shkreli left Retrophin in September 2014 and was sued by the company for $65 million in August, claiming he violated a duty of loyalty amid a dispute over use of company funds, according to Bloomberg. Shkreli claims the suit is baseless and that Retrophin owes him $25 million in severance.