A huge overnight price increase for an important tuberculosis drug just got reversed

After Rodelis Therapeutics obtained the rights to a specialised tuberculosis drug called cycloserine last month, the company raised the price from $US500 for 30 capsules to $US10,800 for the same quantity.

The 2,060-pecent increase was met with disapproval by the drug’s previous owner. The Purdue University-affiliated organisation promptly reacquired the rights to the drug and reduced the price to $US1,050 for 30 capsules, The New York Times reports.

The Purdue Research Foundation — the nonprofit that oversees the drug’s previous owner — was displeased with the price hike. Foundation president Dan Hasler told the Times, “We said [to Rodelis] this was not what we had intended.”

The reason for the new $US1,050 price is to offset the drug’s financial losses. Cycloserine is used only in cases of tuberculosis that are resistant to other drugs. Roughly 40 patients receive treatment with the drug each year. Between the small patient market and regulatory costs, cycloserine has lost The Chao Center roughly $US10 million since it obtained the rights in 2007.

The news comes alongside controversy following a 5,000-per cent price increase for Daraprim, an antiparasitic drug, by Turing Pharmaceuticals. In The New York Times’ report on Daraprim, cycloserine was another drug cited as following a trend of sudden price shocks.

The case of Daraprim even got the attention of Hillary Clinton, who tweeted that “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” and vowed to lay out a plan to discourage the practice. The comment brought about an immediate drop in the Nasdaq biotech sector.

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