Home Scandal and Gossip Pharma exec explains its moral to jack up prices 400%

Pharma exec explains its moral to jack up prices 400%

Nirmal Mulye
Pictured, Nirmal Mulye
Nirmal Mulye
Pictured, Nirmal Mulye

Nirmal Mulye, Nostrum Laboratories pharmaceutical CEO defends 400% price hike of antibiotic nitrofurantoin from $500 to $2400 as a morally correct one for shareholders.

A major pharmaceutical executive has raised eyebrows after defending his company’s recent 400 percent price hike on a widely used antibiotic — claiming it’s a ‘moral requirement to make money when you can’ and to ‘sell the product for the highest price.’

‘This is a capitalist economy,’ said Nirmal Mulye, founder and president of Nostrum Laboratories and the new poster boy of maligned pharmaceutical executives who giddily get rich off the misfortune of others. 

‘If you can’t make money you can’t stay in business,’ he told the Financial Times. ‘I agree with Martin Shkreli that when he raised the price of his drug. He was within his rights because he had to reward his shareholders.’

Mulye compared his company’s price increase of the antibiotic nitrofurantoin — which jumped from $474.75 to $2,392 a bottle this year — to that of an art dealer selling a painting ‘for half a billion dollars.’

Which is to wonder, if a single multimillionaire is in a position to bid up the price of art to the stratosphere are downtrodden ‘captive’ consumers in the same position to pay through the nose and then some to get their life or death fix?

‘[I’m in] this business to make money,’ the healthcare executive added without a trace of irony. ‘We have to make money when we can. The price of iPhones goes up, the price of cars goes up, hotel rooms are very expensive.’

Mulye praised Shkreli for his infamous 5,000 percent price hike on the Aids and cancer drug Daraprim in 2015, saying he didn’t blame the man since his company was the only one manufacturing it.

‘If he’s the only one selling it then he can make as much money as he can,’ Mulye explained. ‘The public shaming effect is waning and triple-digit price increases are not uncommon.’

The interview soon made the viral rounds, eliciting a variety of responses, underpinning the conundrum of pharmaceutical companies seeking to price gouge sick patients for their bottom line- cause they can get away with it and this is what the market will bear (never mind the artificial barriers government patents also create).

‘Scumbag Nostrum Pharmaceuticals founder and President Nirmal Mulye defended his raising the cost of an antibiotic by 400%. What a sleazy douche,’ wrote one Twitter user.

‘This didn’t work out so well for Martin Shkrelli,’ another person tweeted. ‘Changing it to moral requirement when greed is the opposite of moral is an absurd excuse that won’t deter the SEC and other agencies that will get involved in the inevitable Nirmal Mulye’ investigation.’

The drug in question, nitrofurantoin, is listed as an ‘essential’ antibiotic by the World Health Organization. It’s used to treat bladder infections.

But it gets grimmer…

‘There’s no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients,’ tweeted Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. ‘ FDA will continue to promote competition so speculators and those with no regard to public health consequences can’t take advantage of patients who need medicine.’ Do you suppose?

The Financial Times said that after its initial interview, Mulye followed up with a LinkedIn message calling the agency ‘incompetent and corrupt.’

Of course Mulye might also want to add his lobbying team into that mix – like other big capitalist ventures makes its trek to Washington to influence policy makers who only to often acquiesce to their demands- but then again that’s the price of a campaign contribution on your dime and life ….