Daraprim is an essential medicine across the world used for treating serious protozoan infections such as malaria. Martin Shkreli inflated the prices simply because he could and because he wanted to increase the amount in his already considerably inflated bank account, without taking into account the humanitarian implications of selfish behaviour.
Pharmaceutical companies and companies that sell medical supplies have astronomical cost and a lot of potential liability when things go wrong. That can make it difficult to earn a profit. That does not justify price gouging on a popular product when the overall operation of the company has been mismanaged.
Yes, Martin Shkreli was wrong to increase to cost of Daraprim. There are certain things in this world that should be safe from greed and exploitation. When people's lives are on the line, people should not be able to exploit that for their own gain. Money should not dictate whether you should have access to a medication that will save your life.
For decades, there wasn’t any competition to Daraprim for the simple reason that there wasn’t much money to be made selling it. In the face of his humongous price hike, the obvious solution is for someone to undercut his price—especially since Daraprim is fairly simple to make—but thanks to the complex rules governing drug sales in the U.S., that’s not so easy. A potential competitor would have to go through the arduous process of getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) by showing that its drug is equivalent to Daraprim. This is difficult, because Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, tightly controls its distribution, making it hard to get the samples to do testing.