Pharma chief defends 400% drug price rise as a ‘moral requirement’

Nostrum Laboratories, a small firm in Missouri, recently raised the price of a drug commonly used for bladder infections from approximately $470 to over $2,000, stating it was a “moral requirement” to do so in order to reward their shareholders. The drug, Nitrofurantoin, is on a World Health Organizations list of essential medicines.

Nirmal Mulye, chief executive, defended the decision, stating, “I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can . . . to sell the product for the highest price.”

Because of new requirements on impurities, there is a shortage of liquid versions of the drug, allowing for this price gouging. Mr Mulye hit out against the FDA because of these new regulations, calling the regulator “incompetent and corrupt” and saying that the new rules were “highway robbery.” Liquid versions of the drug are usually used by children and the elderly, who may not be able to tolerate the pill form.

Reading this man state that it is a “moral requirement” to make money saddens me so deeply. The Dalai Lama said, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Love and compassion, not money, are moral requirements.

A man price gouging on an essential medicine because of the FDA’s new requirement to keep people safe truly shows how ill our world has become, and how deeply it needs the healing of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to teach us how to live in peace with one another, to put people over profit, and to treat each other as sacred beings, not as barriers to our own selfish success.

I pray that this man, his shareholders, and those he holds dear find the love and compassion in their hearts to understand that people are more important than profit. I will keep him in my heart and in my daimoku in these coming days, in the hopes that he will be moved toward a deeper understanding of our shared humanity.

“All suffering is caused by one belief….the belief in separation.” – Vivian Amis 


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