It's no secret that pharmaceutical companies are screwing people over left and right. "Pharma-douche" Martin Shkreli is just a recent example in a long line of businessmen shamelessly capitalizing on life-saving medication by charging exorbitant amounts of money for them.

And although the healthcare issue in the US is a complicated one, at the end of the day, it's hard to deny that there are special interest groups who definitely want to keep the price of drugs are high as possible, ethical issues be damned.

But when science, ingenuity, with a desire to do something right all come together, amazing things can happen.


Like these students who managed to create 3.7 grams of Pyrimethamine, the active ingredient in Daraprim, which could sell between $35K and $110K in the US.

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abc.net

ABC.net reported that the price of Daraprim went from $13.50 a pill to $750 when former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the much-loathed Shkreli, hiked up the price. But a group of 17-year-olds decided to respond to all of the hullabaloo by hitting drug manufacturers where it hurt most: their profits.


Student Milan Leonard said the price hike of Daraprim was "ridiculous."

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abc.net

"It makes sense that if you're putting billions of dollars into research for a drug like this, you should be able to reap some profit, but to do something like this … it's just not just."


But once Milan and his team found they were able to successfully recreate the drug in a simple high school laboratory, they were "ecstatic."


turner

"It was ecstatic, it was bliss, it was euphoric. 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."


University of Sydney researcher Alice Williamson helped the boys using Open Source Malaria, an online research-sharing tool.


sydney conference

"The original route that we got, so the original recipe if you like to make this molecule, was from a patent that was referenced on Wikipedia. Now of course we checked to see if it looked reasonable … but the route that was up actually had one step that involved a really dangerous chemical. The boys had to navigate a difficult step and do this in a different way, and they've managed to do that, and they've managed to do that in their high school laboratory."


Daraprim currently sells for $1 to $2 a pill in Australia. The US has a $1 alternative to the drug, but it hasn't been FDA approved yet.

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mgtv

And people have plenty of interesting reasons as to why they're refusing to do it. It might have something to do with the fact that ex-big-Pharma employees are now working for the FDA. But I'm sure there's no conflict of interest there whatsoever. (h/t abc.net)