Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questioned Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day about the high price of Truvada (PrEP) in the United States.
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PrEP is a prescription drug that helps prevent transmission of HIV when taken daily. Gilead is the manufacturer behind this groundbreaking medication. However, it can be unaffordable and inaccessible to communities who really need it.
In the United States, PrEP is almost $2,000 [€1,790.92] per month. Meanwhile, in Australia, the same drug costs a mere $8 [€7.16].
During questioning, O’Day admitted the company made $3 million [€2,686,380] in global revenue last year.
‘The current list price [for Truvada] is $1,780 [€1,593.92] in the United States,’ O’Day said.
‘So the list price is almost $2,000 in the United States. So why is it $8 in Australia?’ Ocasio-Cortez asked.
‘Truvada still has patent protection in the United States,’ O’Day responded. ‘And in the rest of the world it’s generic. I can’t comment on the price in Australia on generic medicines, but it is generically available in other parts of the world. And will be generically available in the United States as of September 2020.’
‘So I think it’s important here to notice that we the people developed this drug, we paid for this drug, and created all the grounding patents to create PrEP,’ Ocasio-Cortez stated. ‘And then the patent has been privatized despite the fact the patent is owned by the public. We refuse 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. We own the core intellectual property. And as a result, people are dying for no reason.’
Watch the interaction below:
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) May 16, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to discuss the price discrepancy further. In sharing the video clip, she added, ‘Spoiler: because Australia has universal healthcare.’
Spoiler: Because Australia has universal healthcare. https://t.co/c8BemM1y6h
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 16, 2019