Haters of #Daraprim Price Raiser @MartinShkreli Should Know This First

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, has been in the news recently for raising the price of an “AIDS drug” from $13.50 to $750. However, there may be several things you didn’t know about the controversy that simply aren’t getting much coverage, instead overblowing only the most outrage-sounding aspects (which are most half-truths).

1. Daraprim is not an AIDS drug. Daraprim cures toxoplasmosis, and is not used to treat AIDS. Toxoplasmosis is an obscure parasitic infection that some AIDS sufferers might get, and the treatment for it is only about 100 pills. Since it is a cure, rather than simply a treatment, you wouldn’t need to take it indefinitely like AIDS sufferers must do to treat their autoimmune condition. Calling Daraprim an “AIDS drug” is like calling flu treatments a drug for schizophrenia, since schizophrenics can get the flu too.

2. Turing Pharmaceuticals gives away the drug for $1/tablet each or even for free, which is a drastic drop in price, not an increase. According to this Bloomberg video interview, Martin himself describes how the company will work with patients who need Daraprim to make sure they get it even when insurance company negotiations are still on the table. “If you can’t afford the drug, we’ll give it away totally for free,” Martin says in the Bloomberg interview. He’s not limiting access, he’s expanding the free program that was in place before, and increasing access. He’s not holding it for ransom.

3. It’s not price gouging. Price gouging would be like a desert oasis charging $750 for a sip of water, instead of giving it away freely to those in need of hydration. This situation is like a large desert oasis in which there are several shops that sell a sunburn lotion for $900, and the one single shop that used to offer it for $14 raised the price to $750 — which is still lower than everyone else — but also just gave it away to those who couldn’t pay $750.

Did An American Buy Rights to an AIDS drug, Raising the Price from $13.50 to $750? NO. Here’s why.

In the news recently is the story of a man, Martin Shkreli, 32, who started Turing Pharmaceuticals. Turing purchased the North American marketing rights to Daraprim and did change the price drastically.

A few things to clarify:
1. The drug is not for AIDS. The drug is a cure for a disease called toxoplasmosis, whereby those who need it only have to take it for a certain limited time and the symptoms are often either non-existent or periodically flu-like according to this, wheereas AIDS patients need to take their drugs for the rest of their lives. People with AIDS are susceptible to getting it (but may never even encounter it), but the drug is not for the treatment of AIDS itself.

2. About half of the new sales of the drug price was dropped from $13.50 to ONE DOLLAR, as stated directly by the CEO himself, and the other half are up over $700. For some reason, people seem to be focusing specifically on the outrage for the increase, but not lauding him for lowering the price down to a single dollar, for people who need it. There’s more than one reason to sell a drug, instead of specifically directly to patients for treatment.

The New York Times recently published an article that stirred up much of the controversy — and it even goes on to embed a CNBC video interview with Shkreli himself, as if it were a source.

Strangely enough, that source very clearly observes that the drug is not an HIV/AIDS medication, but treats a specific parasitic infection called toxplasmosis, which some AIDS patients get. To call this an “AIDS drug” would be the same level of absurd as calling an wooden spoon a “scalp injury device” since they’re used in this common prank game — when in reality, only some people use wooden spoons to hit people over the head, but that’s not what it’s even made for. The drug cures a specific parasitic disease, and people with auto-immune disorders like AIDS can contract it, but the drug itself does not treat AIDS.

A flu treatment, for instance, is also not an AIDS drug, even though people who have AIDS can get the flu. If they need to take a flu treatment, they would be treating the flu, not treating AIDS. Likewise, people take the drug whose price “skyrocketed” are taking it to specifically to treat toxomplasmosis, not to treat AIDS.

For some reason very little emphasis is made on the fact that the same Turing Pharmaceuticals company also offers the drug for one single dollar, down from $13.50 as before. That would mean your medication bill could be reduced from $405 for a 30-pill supply, down to just $30 — and that’s really good news for people who need it. But, perhaps the outrage just makes for better news.

Is That Ship Loaded With Syrian Refugees? NO. Here’s Why.

Making the rounds lately is a photograph of hundreds of people loaded onto a single ship, practically spilling out over the edges.. along with the claim that it is a photograph of the Syrian refugees of ~2015 — except it’s from 1991. For some reason in the popularized version has the letters L and O out of the ship’s name VLORA are removed or blurred, but in other photos from that particular even show the ship’s letters very clearly.

Biggest perpetuator I could find: “Political Veracity” (as if).. with 17,762 Likes and 54,833 shares as of this article’s writing:

This article, which also seems to use it as a broader illustrative purpose rather than for historical merit (and even seems to label them as refugees from Libya), seems to describe a general migration pattern all flooding into Europe over the years.. but also has a lot more images of the same VLORA ship and from different angles.

I couldn’t locate the original photographer’s name for credit, but if known I’d like to know also, perhaps also if they could give an account of what they saw that day.

According to the below YouTube video, in 1990 the social unrest and economic collapse after the fall of a communist regime lead to a mass migration from Albania to Italy, all aboard one ship called the VLORA. In 1991, this ship loaded down with passengers arrived at the Bari pier and Italian administrators were unprepared for the arrival, resulting in many deaths.

(original link to video, now defunct).

July 2018 Edit: The above video has been removed for some reason, but here are a few others. This video seems to be much the same as the original I had posted here.

Another one appears to be an amateurish edit that usage generic footage of the event, people leaping from the ship, others trying to climb up, etc. set to music.

The wikipedia entry for the VLORA ship can be found here:


Lots of Strange Facebook Friend Requests With Rasimlar.CN Profile Pics

In the last few summer months of 2015 I have been getting a lot of friend requests on Facebook from people who show their home city to be my city, but have no other friends in common with me. One thing I have noticed in common among them is that many have a profile pic (usually needs to be viewed full screen) that has “RASIMLAR.CN” down in the bottom corner or bottom center, which looks like it might be Chinese dating site or similar to instagram.

I had initially begun accepting them without looking, because I am an admin for a large Korean Pop fan club (~20,000 members) on Facebook and many of the members like to friend me despite a pretty significant language barrier, and I don’t mind. However, after accepting a few of them, I started getting a lot of messages from real-life friends asking if I knew someone who showed me to be a mutual friend. It turned out a lot of them had profile pics with this particular website watermark or tag in the bottom right corner. After reporting most of them for possible fraudulent accounts, few of them seem to even exist anymore.

It looks to me like whoever runs Rasimlar.CN is engaging in some kind of social engineering trick to advertise their site or some other mysterious purpose (which I am perhaps playing into their ploy to further identify), perhaps with origins in China since “CN” is the Chinese domain extension similar to how “.co.uk” addresses are generally for British sites. I don’t find any articles that pop up about it yet, so I figured I’d just throw this out there to see if anyone else was getting them or if it was just me.

Are you getting these, and what region of the world are you from? I’m from northern Texas in the US.

Could a US Prison Ship Deport Illegal Aliens? Not That One, Anyway.

Making the rounds this time is what appears to be a prison ship, that a caption claims could facilitate the deportation of illegal immigrants from the US “in a safe, secure manner.”

The ship pictured is actually the British HMS Prison Weare, a ship that was built in 1979 by a Swedish company, used to house prisoners during a UK conflict and some New York drug-crime prisoners (exact dates uncertain), then decommissioned by Britain in 2005 and sold in 2006 to “Sea Trucks” in the UK and re-commissioned as “Jascon 27” for use as housing for off-shore Nigerian oil workers.

For reference, see this BBC article from 2010, the Weare’s wikipedia entry, a farewell entry in the Portland Port (UK) newsletter (PDF).

Are 800,000 Bikers Preparing to Confront 1 Million Muslims in DC? No. Here’s Why.

Popular today among the people who couldn’t figure out how to google if it were the only ransom required to save their own mother: “already over 800,000 bikers on the road to confront 1 million Muslims in Washington.”

Actually, the photo was taken by Tech. Sgt. Cherie Thurlby, USAF in 2005, as part of an event called Rolling Thunder (official site) that is repeated annually since 1998 to recognize fallen soldiers from Vietnam and missing soldiers from all conflicts. You can see it being used in this Military.com article and this DoDLive.mil article dating to 2005 and takes place in one of the the Pentagon’s parking lots.

And do you know what the craziest thing about this is? There’s more to it than that.