Nirmal Mulye, CEO of a Missouri drug company, might be the new Martin Shkreli. And while Shkreli might be known for having the world’s most punchable face, Mulye could well take the award for most punchable personality.
Mulye, who heads Nostrum Laboratories, is responsible for jacking up the price of a life-saving antibiotic by 400 percent. The decades-old drug, nitrofurantoin, is classified as an essential drug by the World Health Organization. Nitrofurantoin is often used to treat urinary tract infections caused by E. coli and other Gram-negative bacteria.
If you look back farther, the average price for one nitrofurantoin pill was just $0.05 in 2010. In July 2018, the price for a bottle was $474.75 – but by August, it was $2,392 per bottle.
It’s not just the price hike, though.
It’s that Mulye said it was a “moral requirement” to “sell the product for the highest price. He went on to say that he was “in this business to make money.” Certainly every business owner can relate – but when it comes to an essential drug, that might not be the best course of action.
And perhaps worse, Mulye publicly aligned himself with Shkreli’s principles.
“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… If he’s the only one selling it then he can make as much money as he can… 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 said.
Later, he walked back his statement and said that he wasn’t defending Shkreli; he was simply condemning the FDA.
The Food and Drug Administration disagrees with Muley. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted, “[T]here’s no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients. 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.”
What Do You Think?
Do you think Mulye is right in agreeing with Shkreli, or should he have done what he could to keep the price of this essential drug down? I’d love to hear your opinion, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.