The chief executive of Nostrum Laboratories won't let public shaming make him feel bad about raising the price of an antibiotic to $2,392 a bottle, from $474.75.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Nostrum CEO Nirmal Mulye defended his company's decision last month to hike the price of liquid nitrofurantoin by 400 percent. "I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can," he said, "to sell the product for the highest price." Nitrofurantoin, an antibiotic that treats bladder infections, is deemed an essential medicine by the World Health Organization.
Mulye said he had to bump up the price in response to Casper Pharma, which makes the branded version of the antibiotic, increasing its price to $2,800. "The point here is the only other choice is the brand at the higher price," Mulye said. "It is still a saving regardless of whether it is a big one or not." He told FT he agreed with Martin "Pharma Bro" Shkreli raising the price of the AIDS and cancer drug Daraprim in 2015 to $750 per tablet, from $13.50, saying Shkreli was "within his rights because he had to reward his shareholders."
We live in a "capitalist economy and if you can't make money you can't stay in business," Mulye said. "We have to make money when we can. The prices of iPhones goes up, the price of cars goes up, hotel rooms are very expensive." In response, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted there is "no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients." Catherine Garcia