Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Brutally Savages Big Pharma CEO Over Overpriced HIV Medication

New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tore into the CEO of Gilead pharmaceutical company for overcharging on a drug designed to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Truvada for PrEP is a fixed-dose combination of antiretroviral medications: tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine used to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS when taken daily. But not everyone can afford it in communities that really need it.

On Thursday, Gilead Sciences Inc. CEO Daniel O’Day—who began his position in the company starting in March—found himself in the line of fire for over three hours in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

HIV prevention drugs like PrEP cost almost $2,000 a month in the US, while the same drug costs $8 in other countries.

O’Day was forced to defend the exorbitant cost of Truvada in the United States in which activists claim the pricing policy prevents at-risk people from accessing the drug.

Ocasio-Cortez asked O’Day:

“You’re the CEO of Gilead. Is it true that Gilead made $3 billion in profits from Truvada in 2018?”

The CEO confirmed:

“$3 billion in revenue.”

AOC asked O’Day to confirm Truvada’s current wholesale price per month.

“The current list price is $2,000 a month in the United States, correct?”

He replied:

“It’s $1,780 in the United States.”

The congresswoman countered:

“Why is it $8 in Australia?”

O’Day explained that the drug is still in the generic phase to rationalize for its expensive domestic cost.

“Truvada still has patent protection in the United States and in the rest of the world it is generic. It will be generically available in the United States as of September 2020.”

After hearing O’Day explain, AOC articulated that there is no reason for the US developed drug to be priced so high that those who can’t afford it are dying.

“I think it’s important here that we notice that we the public, we the people, developed this drug. We paid for this drug, we lead and developed all the patents to create PrEP and then that patent has been privatized despite the fact that the patent is owned by the public, who refused to enforce it.”

“There’s no reason this should be $2,000 a month. People are dying because of it and there’s no enforceable reason for it.”

Ocasio-Cortez continued the discussion on Twitter,

AOC critics continued their usual rant about a younger person mouthing off about something they claim she knows little about.

Meanwhile, the freshman congresswoman was praised for speaking out against big pharma companies when nobody else would.

People are flummoxed by the ridiculous cost of the drugs in the US compared to the significantly affordable prices overseas, in Canada and in Mexico.

Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings told O’Day in the opening statement that he hoped the CEO didn’t have “normal rope-a-dope stuff” regarding programs and coupon offers.

“We want the prices to come down.”

The CEO came prepared with his hackneyed excuse.

“If we had lowered the prices of our medicines a decade ago, we wouldn’t be sitting here with the innovations that are changing the face of HIV AIDS.”

According to Business Insider, Truvada was developed through the work of Thomas Folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in addition to a $50 million in federal grant money for AIDS-researcher Robert Grant.

On May 8, Gilead quietly announced they would relinquish its exclusive patent on Truvada. After reaching a 2014 settlement agreement, Teva Pharmaceuticals will launch the generic version of the drug on September 30, 2020.

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