Salon - May 17, 2019
"Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., also piled on O'Day. "You're the CEO of Gilead. Is it true that Gilead made $3 billion in profits from Truvada in 2018?" she asked.
"The current list price is $2,000 a month in the United States, correct?" she continued. "Why is it $8 in Australia?"
After taking back the House in the November midterms, in large part because of health care, Democrats held their first hearing in January on the rising and often exorbitant cost of prescription drugs. This week, the House majority followed up with a package of legislation aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and reversing the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Essentially, Democrats dared Republicans to vote against lower drug prices because of their longstanding opposition to Obamacare. The gambit worked, with the trio of bills passing on Thursday with the support of five Republicans. Furthermore, this move made clear that some in the GOP are quicker to cry tears in defense of corporate profits than for the Americans dependent on lifesaving medicine that is many times more expensive in the U.S. than other developed nations.
At a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing this week, Republicans howled in bitter protest after Democrats dared to question the massive profits claimed by leading pharmaceutical companies while millions can't afford lifesaving medications.
Daniel O'Day, the chairman and CEO of Gilead, was grilled by Democratic lawmakers on Thursday. Although Gilead is the leading US manufacturer of HIV drugs, only about 18% of the 1.1 million people in the U.S. at risk for HIV infections are currently taking its prevention drug Truvada. Democrats contended that that means preventable infections are occurring every day because of Gilead’s business model.
Gilead charged $800 a month for Truvada when it was introduced in 2004. It now costs nearly $2000 a month and has earned Gilead about $36 billion since it was approved in 2004. ...
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