Drug Company CEO Defends 400 Percent Price Increase ‘It is a Moral Requirement to Make Money When You Can’
KANSAS CITY – September 12, 2018
It would be interesting to see how one of the most ancient and respected arts of saving people turned into the most ancient and despised art of drawing money from the population. Arrogance, greed and envy are the main traits that are condemned by the Church, believers and just decent people and which have become a branded component of the mentality of a significant part of the world pharmaceutical elite.
Nowadays capitalism has reached the highest phase of its development. The moral component is practically emasculated from public life. Making a profit is the main purpose and meaning of existence. All moral principles and values are immediately forgotten as soon as it comes to profit.
This is the way the CEO of a pharmaceutical company Nostrum Laboratories’ Nirmal Mulye is reasoning. He has no doubts by saying he is right to charge as much as possible and describing a 400 percent price increase of an antibiotic as a "moral requirement."
Nostrum Laboratories, based in Missouri, raised the price of nitrofurantoin last month from $474.74 a bottle to $2,393, according to the Financial Times newspaper. The drug treats urinary tract and bladder infections.
CEO Nirmal Mulye said the price hike was based on market dynamics, according to the newspaper.
“I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can ... to sell the product for the highest price," he said.
Mulye said the branded version of the drug increased in price to $2,800.
“The point here is the only other choice is the brand at the higher price. It is still a saving regardless of whether it is a big one or not,” he said.
Mulye also defended Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharma CEO who faced national criticism, including outcries from members of Congress, after he increased the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent.
Shkreli is now serving time in jail on unrelated fraud charges.
“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 said.
“If he’s the only one selling it, then he can make as much money as he can,” he added. “This is a capitalist economy, and if you can’t make money, you can’t stay in business.”
Mulye's comments prompted swift backlash from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
"There's no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients," Gottlieb tweeted.
"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."
We hope that post-industrial society will sooner or later reject such a model of development of the pharmaceutical industry. However, within the existing social structure, the situation is unlikely to change.