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Reining in the rising cost of some prescription drugs

Don Dahler has a look at the drug company practice of buying the rights to drugs and then drastically increasing their prices
Analyst: Drug companies have "moral obligation" to make meds affordable 02:14

Patients who suffer from the rare infection toxoplasmosis got some help Tuesday when the drug benefits manager Express Scripts offered to sell a treatment for a dollar a pill.

The drug is similar to Daraprim, sold by Turing Pharmaceuticals for $750 a pill.

Turing CEO will keep high Daraprim price for individuals 02:27

After an uproar, Turing's CEO Martin Shkreli promised to lower the price -- then appeared to backtrack.

When Shkreli increased Daraprim's price 5,000 percent, he complained that he was being unfairly vilified.

"There are literally a dozen companies just like ours that raise prices dramatically, and higher, might I add, than our company," Shkreli told CBS News in September. "And I don't see those companies getting the criticism that I get."

He's partially right. When Valeant Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to a heart medication, it raised the price from $179 a dose to almost $1,500.

Activis increased the cost of an antibiotic from $27 a bottle to over $1,800.

Former hedge fund manager raises drug price 5500% 00:50

"You've got your foot on the patient's throat," industry analysts Richard Evans says. "There's a moral obligation. You've got to have the patient's well-being at heart and you have to act accordingly."

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals says they're doing just that. The company is using the basic ingredients of Daraprim to make their own version of the drug.

Prescription for change: Investigating overpriced drugs 04:10

"We decided to take action to make this new formulation available to this vulnerable population," Imprimis founder and CEO Mark Baum tells CBS News.

Baum says the company won't take a financial hit.

"The chemicals that we use to make this formulation are quite inexpensive. We make a really nice profit on this, but we make what I feel is an ethical profit," Baum says.

After a global backlash, Shkreli said he'd lower the price of Daraprim. And last week he did -- but only for hospitals, not individuals.

Members of Congress have called for an investigation into steep increases in drug prices.

Imprimis says it's looking at selling cheaper versions of other expensive medications.

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