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Epi-pen. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nirmal Mulye, the chief executive of a small drug company called Nostrum Laboratories, defended his decision to the Financial Times to quadruple the price of a 65-year-old antibiotic.

What he's saying: “I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can . . . to sell the product for the highest price... 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... This is a capitalist economy and if you can’t make money you can’t stay in business.”

What they’re saying:

"There are other suppliers of this product and, by its own admission ... the company in question isn’t actively marketing their formulation. Their excessive price, detached from market principles, exists only on a list and should remain there in a competitive marketplace,”
— FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted yesterday

My thought bubble: Mulye is saying the quiet part out loud here, but he and Shkreli are by no means the only pharmaceutical executives to jack up the price on old yet crucial drugs — that’s what happened with the EpiPen, with the cancer drug lomustine, and with dozens of other products.

  • In cases where one company is able to raise its prices at will because it’s the only one making a particular product, the FDA has made it a priority to help speed new competitors to market.
  • But Nostrum has at least one competitor — which is charging just as much for its version of the same antibiotic, per FT.

Perennial caveat: Few patients pay a drug's full sticker price, but that price is still the starting point for determining what people with insurance do pay.

Go deeper

50 mins ago - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with first lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.