Exec pushes back against drug hike ‘moral requirement’ quote

Opioid pain killer other pills spilled out on table with reflective surface with gradient

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The head of a small Kansas City pharmaceutical company is defending himself after a financial publication reported that he said he had a “moral requirement” to raise the price of a 65-year-old antibiotic by 400 percent.

The Kansas City Star reports that Nostrum Laboratories founder Nirmal Mulye says his comments to the London-based Financial Times were taken out of context. The publication says it sticks by the story.

The reporting led to a sharp rebuke from Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

At issue is Nostrum’s plan to hike the price of nitrofurantoin, an antibiotic used to treat bladder infections.

Reached by phone Thursday at his New Jersey home, Mulye said he was talking about his obligation to his employees. He says he’s worried about keeping his company afloat.