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High school students make Martin Shkreli's $750 drug Daraprim for $2

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC., smiles while flanked by Nancy Retzlaff, chief commercial officer for Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC., during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Shkreli invoked his 5th Amendment right not to testify to the committee that is examining the prescription drug market. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

An after-school program in Australia has managed to prove just what a nasty move Martin Shkreli pulled with the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim.

Shkreli is the hedge-fund manager turned pharmaceutical entrepreneur whose company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased the rights to an anti-parasitic drug called Daraprim last year. The drug was used to great success and aplomb to treat malaria and HIV infected patients, leading it to be listed on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines.

Shkreli, recognizing he had a legitimate in-demand hit on his hands, proceeded to jack the price of the drug up from $13.50 to $750 per tab almost literally overnight. He bought the rights to the drug in August 2015, and begin selling it at the 5,000 percent increase by September 2015.

This led a group of Aussie high schoolers at Sydney Grammar School to immediately begin trying to recreate the drug to prove just what a nasty move that was. They succeeded and can conclusively prove that the drug is affordable to make and distribute at a cost of roughly $2 per tab.

From Business Insider:

But while the drug is still incredibly expensive in the U.S., in most countries, including Australia, it's available for around $1 or $2 per tablet.

That's because the drug is out of patent, but Turing Pharmaceuticals controls its distribution in the States through a loophole called the 'closed distribution model'.

That means for a competitor - such as the students' new drug - to be able to be sold on the U.S. open market, it would have to be compared in trials to Shkreli's product.

There's little reason for Shkreli to ever allow for comparison trials, which would lead to a whole new set of clinical trials if the students' version of Daraprim were to be allowed on the U.S. market. And that carries a huge price tag.

So for now, the students are simply pleased they could put the feather in the "Martin Shkreli is a jerk" hat, and "hopefully inspire other manufacturers to try their new technique, which has been published in full online."

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