New Turing CCO steps down amid drug price controversy

Craig Rothenberg stepped down as Turing's chief communications officer.
Craig Rothenberg stepped down as Turing's chief communications officer.

Newly minted Turing Pharmaceuticals CCO Craig Rothenberg stepped down on Monday as the company faces backlash for a 5,000% price hike of its Daraprim drug.

An external spokesman for Turing confirmed Rothenberg's exit, but further information regarding his departure was not disclosed. Rothenberg joined Turing as its first chief comms officer less than two months ago.

His role has not yet been filled in a full-time capacity, said Allan Ripp, principal at Ripp Media/Public Relations, which provides media support to Turing. Ripp said the split was "completely amicable."

Rothenberg told PRWeek that his short stint at the company was "a great adventure," but the environment wasn't right for him.

He also confirmed in an emailed statement that he will "re-charge" Rothenberg Communications, a firm he launched earlier this year.

Turing faced a slew of backlash this week after The New York Times reported on Sunday that the price of the drug Daraprim went up 5,000% since being acquired by the pharmaceutical company in August. 

Martin Shkreli, former hedge fund manager and current Turing CEO, told Bloomberg TV that he increased the price because his company needed "to turn a profit on the drug." Shkreli on Tuesday said he would roll back the price of the drug but did not specify the new price. 

The company released a statement on its website Monday in an attempt to clarify its position. Ripp said the company was making no further comments regarding the drug issue at this time.

Earlier this month, Rothenberg talked to PRWeek about joining Turing—a young startup biopharmaceuticals company—after spending 20 years at Johnson & Johnson and going into early retirement in May.

He said at the time that he didn't want to join another multinational because he'd already "been to the mountaintop" and didn't think it gets any higher than J&J.

This story originally appeared in PRWeek.