NY governor investigates price jump in six drugs during pandemic

·2 min read

Jan 21 (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday the Department of Financial Services was investigating into a price jump of about 60% to 1,350% in six drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York has asked drug manufacturers to explain the large spike in prices of the drugs, which included dexamethasone, a treatment proven to decrease deaths in COVID-19 patients, and chloroquine phosphate, which was touted by former President Donald Trump as a cure, but turned out ineffective.

The price for Cipla USA Inc's Budesonide soared by over 1,350% during the first wave of the pandemic in the United States and on the heels of an announcement of clinical trials for its use against COVID-19, according to a statement released by the governor.

Jaguar Health increased the price of Mytesi, used for gastrointestinal side effects in HIV patients, by 230% just days after it applied for an emergency use authorization in COVID-19 patients, according to the statement.

It also shows that Nubratori Inc announced a price hike of over 65% for Dexonto, or dexamethasone, just 11 days before clinical trials on COVID-19 patients were announced in China.

Rising Pharmaceuticals' chloroquine phosphate saw its price surge 97.8% on "unsubstantiated reports of its effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients," the statement said.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals' Duramorph, or morphine sulfate, experienced a rise of nearly 60%, while McGuff Pharmaceuticals raised price of Ascor by 110%, a week after clinical trials were announced for the ascorbic acid in COVID-19 patients with acute symptoms.

None of the companies was immediately available to respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The investigation was being handled by Department of Financial Services' newly formed Office of Pharmacy Benefits.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)