Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Thursday cornered the CEO of biotech firm Gilead Sciences about why his company charges nearly $2,000 for a drug that consumers in Australia can buy for just $8.
During a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Ocasio-Cortez asked Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day about his company’s decision to charge over 200 times more for HIV prevention pill Truvada than what people in other countries pay for the same drug.
“Truvada still has patent protection in the United States and in the rest of the world it is generic,” he said, and then claimed that it will be available as a generic drug in the U.S. in September 2020.
Ocasio-Cortez was not satisfied with this answer, however, and she pointed out that the drug was originally discovered to be effective in preventing HIV infections by a federal lab in Atlanta — and she said that the U.S. government had patented the drug’s use for such treatments.
“We the people developed this drug,” she said. “We paid for this drug… There is no reason this should be $2,000 a month. People are dying because of it!”
O’Day, however, has maintained that the patents the government has related to Truvada and HIV prevention are invalid.
Watch the video below.
We the people developed this drug. We paid for this drug. Despite the fact that the patent is owned by the public, we refuse to enforce it. There is no reason this should be $2,000 a month. People are dying for no reason.# p #8_11 # ad skipped = true ## p #9_11 # ad skipped = true #
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) May 16, 2019# p #10_11 # ad skipped = true #