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The High Price of Our Medical Patent System

Last month, America was shocked by the case of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Turing, in a blatant show of monopoly muscle, purchased the rights to toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim, only to raise its price from $13.50/pill to $750/pill. For those of you keeping track, that’s a 5,000% price increase. I say “monopoly muscle” because despite the patent for Daraprim technically having expired, no company has yet developed a generic version, according to Techdirt. In other words, Turing has only a functional monopoly on the drug. Perversely, this is good news. The situation would be much, much worse if Daraprim’s patent were still active. And even though Turing’s particular abuse is the one that’s hit the news, the fact is that its abuse is one that goes not only tolerated, but enabled by our dysfunctional patent system on a regular basis.


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