‘People are dying for no reason’

By Tim Fitzsimons

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., didn’t hold back Thursday in questioning the chief executive of the company that makes Truvada about the high cost of the drug used to prevent HIV with pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

“The list price is almost $2,000 in the United States. Why is it $8 in Australia?” Ocasio-Cortez asked the CEO of Gilead Sciences, Daniel O’Day, after noting the company made $3 billion in revenue off the once-a-day pill in 2018.

O’Day responded that “Truvada still has patent protection in the United States, and in the rest of the world it is generic.” He noted that, as announced last week, the drug is set to be generically available in the U.S. in September 2020.

“There’s no reason this should be $2,000 a month,” Ocasio-Cortez, who has pushed for the hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “People are dying because of it, and there’s no enforceable reason for it.”