A Martin Shkreli wannabe defends a big spike in drug price and earns a Twitter lashing from the FDA’s commish

There’s a broad consensus that the pharma industry has at least temporarily checked its impulse to keep hiking prices on their portfolios. But a small drugmaker named Nostrum Laboratories appears not to have received the memo — and now the company is on the receiving end of a Twitter-lashing by FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Nirmal Mulye

According to the Financial Times David Crow, which has been fielding a series of these stories, Nostrum hiked the price of an old antibiotic from $474.75 to $2,392 last month. And the CEO is proudly aligning himself with Martin Shkreli, now doing time in a federal prison for fraud after kicking up an almighty storm of protest over his price gouging strategy with Daraprim.

“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,” Nostrum CEO Nirmal Mulye told the FT.

Why raise the price? The only branded alternative still costs more, says the CEO. And what he is doing is no different than an art dealer selling a painting “for half a million dollars,” adding that he was in “this business to make money.”

The story triggered a sharp response on Twitter from FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who has led the charge against these sudden price spikes, which are completely legal.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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