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Pharma exec says 404 percent cost increase was a ‘moral requirement’

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Yes. You read that headline correctly. Nostrum Laboratories, a Missouri-based drugmaker, hiked the price of a bottle of an antibiotic mixture called nitrofurantoin from $474.75 to $2,392. Nitrofurantoin is used to treat bladder infections. It’s been on the market since 1953 and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications.

So why did the manufacturer more than quadruple the price?

Nirmal Mulye, Nostrum’s chief executive told the Financial Times: “I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can … to sell the product for the highest price.”

Companies like Nostrum have been able to raise the price of the antibiotic due to supply and demand. There has been a shortage of the liquid version of nitrofurantoin since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted new rules on impurities. That forced several suppliers, including Nostrum, to reformulate their product.

Stay tuned. In a follow-up exchange with the reporter, Mulye said the price could change again “according to market conditions.”

Have you or a loved one been prescribed nitrofurantoin? Have you been affected by rising drug prices? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.