Pharmaceutical maker triples drug price after asking FDA for approval as COVID-19 treatment
Coronavirus (AFP:File : SEBASTIEN BOZON)

A pharmaceutical maker jacked up the cost of its only FDA-approved drug immediately after asking the federal government to expand its use as a coronavirus treatment.

Jaguar Health more than tripled the price of the antidiarrheal medication Mystesi shortly after asking the Food and Drug Administration to authorize emergency use for COVID-19 patients, reported Axios.

The list price of a 60-pill bottle of Mytesi was $668.52 going into this year, but on April 9 the company hiked the cost to $2,206.52.

Jaguar Health had asked the FDA on March 21 to approve the drug, which is typically prescribed to HIV/AIDS patients who are on antiretroviral drugs, for coronavirus patients suffering from diarrhea associated with certain antiviral treatments.

The FDA denied the request April 7 for unspecified reasons, but Jaguar Health remains in discussions with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases about evaluating the drug's effectiveness against the coronavirus.

The company's CEO told Axios that Jaguar Health decided to raise the cost in December because it was losing too much money, and she insisted the cost increase would have been held off if the FDA had approved it for emergency use.

However, CEO Lisa Conte admitted the cost "likely" would have jumped after the emergency use period lapsed.