The CEO of First Nostrum, Nirmal Muyle, has courted controversy in the US by telling the Financial Times he has a ‘moral requirement’ to sell his company’s product, an anti-biotic mixture called Nitrofurantoin, for the highest price.
The price rise, from $474.75 to $2,392 last month, follows an increase in Casper Pharma’s own branded version of the drug, Furadantin, to $2,800. By contrast, a similar sized dosage of the medicine is priced in the UK at £446.95.
Muyle’s comments were prominent enough to provoke a written response from two Senators, Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who sent a strongly worded letter to Dr Muyle asking for more clarity on the factors that lead First Nostrum to decide on a price rise.
Drug pricing is a particularly prominent issue in the US. In July, Pfizer had reversed price rises on 100 of its products after Donald Trump, who had in the past attacked pharma companies for ‘making a fortune at the expense of American patients’, attacked the company in a tweet. However, this case underlines the limitations of public pressure as a price control tool.