Turing Pharma’s Drug Price Gouging Gives Politicians A Gift And Biotech A Perhaps Enduring Headache

All day Monday, on TV and Twitter TWTR +0.00% you could hear investors, big pharma, biotech executives, and politicians all saying the same thing: “What’s next?”

They were asking about the potential fallout from the sudden price hike – from $13.50 to $750, about 5,000 % – of a critical AIDS drug by Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC.

We don’t have one answer for them; we have five:

First, a true healthcare issue has just exploded like a piñata in the middle of the 24/7 presidential campaign, scattering treats at the feet of (last count) 14 Republican and at least 5 Democratic contenders for their parties’ nomination. GOP candidates will scramble to find ways to denounce the price hike, while simultaneously praising the free market. Turing’s move has provided raw steak for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sen. Sanders who has been inveighing for several years about pharmaceutical pricing quickly wrote to Turing Pharmaceuticals asking them to explain the “dramatic price increase” and limits on distribution for the drug. Former Secretary of State Clinton jumped into the fray on Twitter, accusing Turing of “price gouging” and promising to unveil her plan to wrangle drug prices to the ground in the next few days. Immigration will have to take a back seat for a bit.

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