A huge and sudden price increase for a pill used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis has been rescinded after the company that acquired the right to produce it returned it to its previous owner, it was reported Tuesday.
The price of the drug cycloserine, which shot up from $500 for 30 capsules to $10,800 overnight after the rights to produce the drug were acquired last month by Rodelis Therapeutics, will now be $1,050, according to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
NBC News has not immediately confirmed the reports.
The specialty tuberculosis drug will again be produced by the Chao Center, a nonprofit organization associated with Purdue University, according to the reports. The price increase — nearly double the price before Rodelis acquired the rights to cycloserine — will help reduce the amount of money the Chao Center loses in producing the drug.
Officials had no idea that Rodelis planned to charge so much for the drug until reading news reports last week, according to Dan Hasler, the president of the Purdue Research Foundation, which oversees the Chao Center.
“We discovered literally on Thursday the strategy that had been undertaken,” Hasler told The Times. “We said this was not what we had intended.”
Rodelis Therapeutics confirmed the arrangement in a brief statement.
“Rodelis Therapeutics and the Chao Center mutually agreed last week that it is in the best interests of the patients to return the rights of Cycloserine to the Chao Center,” it said. “Rodelis Therapeutics, which is a privately held company, remains committed to developing and investing in therapeutics of orphan diseases and high unmet medical needs.”
The Times and Journal both said that the acquisition of the rights to cycloserine was part of a trend of businesses acquiring older drugs and remarketing them as costly “specialty” drugs. The Times said the practice is most often used on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions.
In its statement, Rodelis said that “approximately 100 patients per year are diagnosed with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in the United States and a fraction of those patients receive Cycloserine as part of their treatment regimen.”