It seems like every other day, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making headlines, good and bad. Recently, the freshman Congresswoman set her sights on Wall Street along with Bernie Sanders in the hopes of getting rid of the ever-increasing credit card interest rates. Now, she is zeroing in on Gilead’s CEO Daniel O’Day.
[Scroll Down For Video]
O’Day appeared before Congress after concerns arose with the pricing model the company uses for its HIV medicine Truvada, The Hill reported. “You’re the CEO of Gilead. Is it true that Gilead made $3 billion in profits from Truvada in 2018?” Ocasio-Cortez asked O’Day.
“$3 billion in revenue,” he responded. “The current list price is $2,000 a month in the United States, correct?” she asked in reference to Truvada.
“It’s $1,780 in the United States,” O’Day clarified. “Why is it $8 in Australia?” AOC asked. “Truvada still has patent protection in the United States and in the rest of the world it is generic,” O’Day explained, adding, “It will be generically available in the United States as of September 2020.”
“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,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.
“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,” she added before she ended her time.
The CDC helped create Truvada. The drug was funded by San Franciso-based AIDS researcher Robert Grant, according to Business Insider. O’Day’s company has made over $3 billion off the drug in the last year, while the U.S. government who patented the drug, hasn’t seen a dime.
In fact, the company does not recognize the U.S. government’s patent, but this could change as the ownership rights to the drug will expire in 2021.