First, I just want to say this is NOT a story about former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli.. The nails in that media coffin have all been depleted.
This story is about Daraprim, the drug at the center of the pricing controversy at Shkreli’s former company. There’s a long history behind Daraprim, but suffice it to say today only 3,000 patients take Daraprim. It’s applications are actually quite broad, but it is best known for treating some forms of HIV and malaria infections, and it’s had some clinical success with ALS and Tay-Sachs.
When Shkreli raised the per-tablet cost of the drug from $13.50 to $750, it naturally sparked a media tsunami over drug prices.
So where’s Daraprim on the media rating charts?
The rating trend is hard to ignore, as the drug brand came from nowhere to a 55 rating in about 12 months. For some perspective, Daraprim is driving higher media ratings than Lipitor, Nexium, and even Tamiflu (and we’re in the middle of the flu season). Not surprisingly, positive media sentiment (33%) is very low — far below the sector average of 60%. The topline media rating is up +5 points for February and momentum is decreasing, but still relatively high.
Recent Congressional scrutiny on the manufacturer of Daraprim and its former CEO drove much of rating advance in February. While there were some net rating increases, social media and search segments showed very low ratings. Essentially the Daraprim pricing topic was fodder for traditional media segments, with the biggest gain seen in broadcast, up+20 to 85.
What makes Daraprim an interesting media story is the sustained focus on prescription drug pricing that it created. (The drug STILL costs patients $750 a tablet.) Drug prices were already a key media topic, never dropping below 65 points over the preceding 4-years and with a strong trailing 6-month average of 75. Media momentum remains steady and the topic is garnering slightly higher media attention across the 200+ topics and issues covered in our U.S. politics trends sector. Positive media sentiment comes in at exactly the sector average, 70 percent.
Today, Daraprim remains a very costly drug for patients. But the media genie is out of the box thanks to Daraprim. Pricing storylines are going to be around for a while and it’s likely the topic will remain above the 70 rating mark for the foreseeable future.