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Ex-hedge funder buys rights to AIDS drug and raises price from $13.50 to $750 per pill

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A former hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical businessman has purchased the rights to a 62-year-old drug used for treating life-threatening parasitic infections and raised the price overnight from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

WATCH: Ex-hedge funder who hiked AIDS pill cost by 5,500 percent says drug ‘still underpriced’

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According to the New York Times, Martin Shkreli, 32, the founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased the rights to Daraprim for $55 million on the same day that Turing announced it had raised $90 million from Shkreli and other investors in its first round of financing.

RELATED: These 37 tweets show how the pharma CEO gouging AIDS patients is even worse than you think

Daraprim is used for treating toxoplasmosis — an opportunistic parasitic infection that can cause serious or even life-threatening problems in babies and for people with compromised immune systems like AIDS patients and certain cancer patients — that sold for slightly over $1 a tablet several years ago.  Prices have increased as the rights to the drug have been passed from one pharmaceutical company to the next, but nothing like the almost 5,500 percent increase since Shkreli acquired it.

Worrying that the cost of treatment could devastate some patients, Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai asked, “What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?”

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According to Shkreli, Turing will use the money it earns to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis, with fewer side effects.

“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” Shkreli explained, saying that many patients use the drug for far less than a year and that the new price is similar to other drugs used for rare diseases.

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Shrkeli also defended his small pharmaceutical company saying, “It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this.”

This is not the first time the fledgling pharmaceutical executive has come under scrutiny.

He started the hedge fund MSMB Capital while in his 20’s and was accused of urging the FDA to not approve certain drugs made by companies whose stock he was shorting.

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In 2011,  Shkreli helped form Retrophin, which also acquired old drugs and immediately raised their prices. Retrophin’s board fired Shkreli a year ago and has filed a complaint in Federal District Court, accusing him of using Retrophin as a personal fund to pay back angry investors in his hedge fund.

 As for Shrkeli’s claim that he will put the excess profits back into research, doctors say that isn’t needed in this case.

“I certainly don’t think this is one of those diseases where we have been clamoring for better therapies,” said Dr. Wendy Armstrong, professor of infectious diseases at Emory University in Atlanta.

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Tweet from Martin Shkreli’s Twitter account below:

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Suspect behind NYC subway bomb scare arrested after being found unconscious in the Bronx: report

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On Saturday, CNN's New York correspondent Polo Sandoval reported that a suspect wanted for placing suspicious rice cookers in New York City subway stations has been arrested after being found unconscious at an address in the Bronx.

"Less than 24 hours it took the NYPD to track down this man in relation to the scare that took place here in New York City," said Sandoval. "A source close to the investigation saying that the individual that they were trying to track down to speak to was apparently placed into custody at about 2AM This morning. He was found unconscious in the Bronx here in New York. He is currently hospitalized."

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It’s not Democrats who are making guns a political issue: It’s all the dead bodies

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We can’t keep up. We can’t keep up with the lies, we can’t keep up with the racism, we can’t keep up with the anti-immigrant hysteria, we can’t keep up with the firings and resignations, we can’t keep up with the flat-out lunacy, but most of all, we can’t keep up with the dead bodies.

In a single week, between Sunday, July 28, and Saturday, Aug. 3, there were three separate mass shootings in this country. In Gilroy, California, at a popular garlic festival, a man wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying an AK-47 style assault rifle, killed three people and wounded 13. Two of the dead and several of the wounded were children. The shooter had six high-capacity magazines in his possession: one was a drum magazine holding 75 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, and the other five held 40 rounds. He had bought the AK-47 and ammunition just three weeks before he opened fire on the festival goers.

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Trump is terrified a recession is coming — and he has no plan if it does: report

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Economists and analysts overwhelmingly agreed this week that a recession is, if not looming, appearing to be much more likely in the near future than it was before.

But in President Donald Trump's White House, such pessimism is verboten. According to multiple reports, Trump's team has been emphasizing rosier economic numbers and brushing off signs of a coming downturn. Trump even suggested that he "suspects many economists and other forecasters are presenting biased data to thwart his reelection," according to the Washington Post. (Trump previously complained that positive economic reports under President Barack Obama were fake.)

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