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After twenty years, the drug becomes public domain and anybody who wants can compete to produce it, usually leading to a precipitous fall in costs.But Daraprim is fifty years old; its patent is long-since expired.The interesting aspect of this case is that the CEO of Turing got the opportunity. In the United States, pharmaceutical companies that discover a new drug are granted a 20-year term of exclusivity to reward them for the public service of drug research.

Moreover, there’s risk associated with starting a drug price war.

Let’s say I decide to launch Sarah’s Generic Drug Company, and I’m pretty sure I can break even by slightly undercutting Turing and charging $700.

As far as I’m concerned, the interesting aspect of this case isn’t just that the CEO of Turing is an asshole who is lining his own pockets with zillions of dollars by gouging AIDS patients.

I assume most pharmaceutical company CEOs are assholes who would line their own pockets with zillions of dollars by gouging AIDS patients if the opportunity presented itself.

What happens if Turing responds by dropping its price down to $500, or even back to $13.50?

It will keep all its patients — and my nascent drug company is likely going bankrupt. On the other hand, what about Longecity group buys?

Like many people, I recently read about Turing Pharmaceuticals’ purchase of anti-toxoplasma drug Daraprim and subsequent price increase of 5000%.

Vox and Marginal Revolution have already done some good work addressing this particular case, but have only touched upon the broader issue: that everything about generic medications is approximately this terrible.

To have an ANDA approved, it typically requires an investment of about million, and it takes a total of two to three years to get the drug to market…in addition to these costs, a company should budget 15% for legal fees, because wherever there is a big manufacturer with a sizable market share involved, they will sue, just to try to eliminate more competition from the market.

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