High school students in Australia have recreated the key ingredient in a life-saving drug sold at $750 per dose in the U.S.. Yiming Woo reports.
Six students and their high school science teacher in Sydney have recreated a life-saving drug for just $2. The price for a dose of Daraprim in the United States -- $750. The drug treats malaria and parasitic infections that could be deadly for people with AIDS or HIV. After months of trial and error, the group of 16 and 17-year-olds landed on the formula. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SYDNEY GRAMMAR STUDENT, BRANDON LEE SAYING: "So what is happened is our science teacher invited us to the lab, he had a huge grin on his face and he showed us an NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectre on the computer, and he was like 'have a look at this' and then we realised it was Daraprim and it was definitely disbelief at the start, but it turned into joy when we realised we actually made the thing we were looking for." Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli was accused of greed and criticised after he raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 a pill last year. While it's unlikely the students will be able to sell their drug in the U.S. due to legal roadblocks, they're happy they were able to prove a point. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SYDNEY GRAMMAR STUDENT, BRANDON LEE SAYING: "Even these compounds which you think are only accessible to these large, large scale companies are actually able to be accessed and produced by ordinary citizens."