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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 2, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 49
Australian teens replicate Daraprim, undercut Martin Shkreli
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Australian teens replicate Daraprim, undercut Martin Shkreli

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A group of Australian high school students has created 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine, the active ingredient in the drug Daraprim.

While the students spent about $20 on their experiment, the quantity of pyrimethamine they manufactured would sell for at least $35,000 - and as much as $110,000 - in the US market.

Daraprim was the drug acquired by pharmaceutical tycoon Martin Shkreli in 2015. After buying rights to the drug, Shkreli hiked the price from $13.50 per dose to $750.

The drug is used to treat parasitic infections in patients with weak immune systems, especially people with HIV and pregnant women.

In most countries, including Australia, Daraprim is sold for between $1 and $2 per pill. A second US-based company, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, has made an alternative compound to Daraprim, which could be sold for as little as $1 per dose, but the drug is not FDA approved.

The 17-year-old students at Sydney Grammar School worked in their school laboratory to create Daraprim cheaply in order to draw attention to its inflated price overseas, which student Milan Leonard said was 'ridiculous.'

Shkreli is currently awaiting trial on multiple securities fraud counts arising from disputes with former partners in his various pharmaceutical businesses.

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