NEW YORK: DCI Group has been supporting Turing Pharmaceuticals with crisis comms since the company caused outrage in September with a 5,000% price hike of its drug Daraprim.
Turing began working with DCI Group three months ago, before the controversy, a source close to the matter told PRWeek. Turing brought on the firm to help it articulate its commitment to ensuring patient access to its medicines and to promote its drug pipeline. The agency works with the company’s senior leadership on media strategy and messaging, as well as third-party outreach.
Yet since the drug-pricing crisis erupted, DCI has helped the company with comms on the matter, the source said. Various media outlets have also quoted Craig Stevens, a VP at DCI, as a spokesperson for Martin Shkreli, who stepped down as Turing’s CEO on Friday.
The company named Ron Tilles interim CEO the same day and announced his hire via Twitter.
Shkreli was arrested last Thursday for securities fraud. The charges stem from his tenure as CEO of biotech firm Retrophin. He gave his first post-arrest interview to The Wall Street Journal, saying his unpopular decision to hike the price of an anti-HIV medication prompted his arrest on fraud charges. His Twitter account was also hacked over the weekend.
Shkreli was fired from another CEO job on Monday, when KaloBios Pharmaceuticals said Shkreli was no longer in its top position and had resigned from the company’s board. He had only held the CEO position for a month after buying a majority stake in the company.
In late October, Shkreli participated in an unorthodox Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, during which he admitted the company fumbled its response to the Daraprim fiasco, but did not apologize. His public image has also suffered from reports that he is the owner of the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album, which fans are eager to hear, but said he has no plans to even listen to it himself.
Turing’s first CCO, Craig Rothenberg, quit the same week the company began receiving public scrutiny for Daraprim’s price spike. Rothenberg said at the time the role simply wasn’t the right fit for him.