AP NEWS

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Pharma CEO over HIV drug’s high price: ‘People are dying’

May 17, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed pharmaceutical CEO Daniel O’Day Thursday for hiking the price of the HIV drug Truvada (also known as PrEP) to almost $1,800 a month despite it being $8 per month in Australia, and seethed that “people are dying because of it.”

“We the public, we the people, developed this drug, paid for this drug, we laid and developed all the grounding patents to create PrEP and that patent has been privatized. Despite the fact that the patent is owned by the public, we refuse to enforce it. There’s no reason it should [cost] $2,000 a month,” the New York Democrat said during the House Oversight Committee hearing.

“People are dying, for no reason,” she said.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez also noted Mr. O’Day’s company, Gilead, made $3 billion in revenue last year from the drug, which prevents infection with a once-daily pill.

Mr. O’Day said a generic version of the medicine allows the drug to be cheaper in the rest of the world. The drug’s patent will prevent a generic option being made available until at least September 2020.