Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Went After Big Pharma for Getting Rich off Anti-HIV Drugs. A Republican Began to Cry.

What costs $8 a month in Australia costs almost $2,000 a month in the United States.

Tom Williams / ZUMA

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a knack for getting under conservatives’ skin. She happens to also be able to make them cry.

At a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez asked Daniel O’Day, chairman and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Gilead, why an HIV prevention drug costs nearly $2,000 a month in the United States but only $8 in Australia. Gilead said that the drug is still under patent protection in the US, but Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that the patent for the drug is owned by the public.

Ocasio-Cortez’s questions caused former Ted Cruz staffer Chip Roy, a Republican representative from Texas, to get visibly upset. Speaking about a medicine that he took to cure his Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Roy said private pharmaceutical companies deserve the profits they earn.

“To sit here and attack the capitalistic system that produces and distributes medicine to saving lives around the world, I mean, it is just offensive,” Roy said. Addressing Gilead, he added, “I hope you make a lot of money!”

Watch Ocasio-Cortez’s questioning and Roy’s statements below.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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