In September 2015, Martin Shkreli rose to dubious prominence. To get there, he purchased the rights to an anti-parasitic drug (Daraprim) used to treat HIV, Malaria, and chemotherapy patients and jacked the price up by 5000%. So, patients went to bed one evening with peace of mind by way of a $13.50 pill, and by morning, the then-Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO had plopped a $750 price tag on their daily health. Since then, Shkreli’s tour of terror has included lording that secret Wu-Tang Clan album over the world, heckling Hillary Clinton, and making godawful remarks about Trayvon Martin.
The misdeeds of Shkreli shall remain plentiful, but in the end, his unfortunate monetary reign all comes down to his Daraprim crown jewel. Well, five teenagers in Australia have been chipping away at Shkreli’s most lucrative drug, and after one year, their chem-lab endeavors have replicated about $110,000 worth of Pyrimethamine (the active ingredient in Daraprim) for a mere $20. That breaks down to about $2 per dose. Together, the group of 17-year-old boys hoped to shine a light on the inflated nature of the U.S. drug market, and in particular, Shkreli’s greedy gamble on many human lives.
Student Milan Leonard spoke to ABC about the moment the boys realized they’d accomplished their goal. “It was ecstatic, it was bliss, it was euphoric,” he said. “After all of this time spent working and chemistry being such a high and low, after all the lows, after all the downs, being able to make this drug, it was pure bliss.” Business Insider notes that the teens won’t be able to market their equivalent as a generic version in the U.S. anytime soon because of a loophole that allows Turing to control the drug despite being out of patent.
However, this news should strike fear into the heart of Pharma Bro, whose kingdom looks a little bit shakier today. A bunch of kids used ingredients that are widely available on the internet to replicate Daraprim with astounding purity, according to the students’ chemistry adviser. Someone might be ranting on Twitter later tonight, which will hopefully stop him from continuing to try to woo Jewel. How embarrassing.