Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez torches Big Pharma’s 'out-of-control' and 'predatory' profiteering
United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) decried the massive profits of the pharmaceutical industry during a House hearing on Tuesday, arguing that the public should be given the option to buy into government programs like Medicare.
"I believe that the profit-seeking motive in the pharmaceutical industry is out of control, and I think that it is what is hurting people," Ocasio-Cortez said.
The figures are indeed staggering. Fierce Pharma reported in April that the top twenty drug manufacturers raked in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue in 2022, in large part because of research, development, and sales stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
READ MORE: Scientists to G7 leaders: Prepare for next pandemic by combating Big Pharma greed
"For the first time in biopharma history, a company has topped the $100 billion mark in annual revenue. Pfizer passed that milestone, propelled by its massive haul from its COVID-19 products. Its BioNTech-partnered vaccine, Comirnaty, raked in $37.8 billion, and oral antiviral Paxlovid made $18.9 billion," Fierce Pharma explained. "With its windfall, Pfizer displaced Johnson & Johnson as the industry's No. 1 revenue generator. J&J had occupied that position for a decade and had been closing in on the $100 billion mark. Sales for 2021 and 2022 came in at $93.8 billion and $94.9 billion, respectively. But with J&J on the verge of separating from its consumer health business, its overall revenue will take a tumble. The unit, dubbed Kenvue, accounted for $15 billion of J&J's sales last year."
Ocasio-Cortez asserted that those earnings warrant a shift in the American approach to healthcare.
"I personally believe that if you have a public entity that does not have a profit motive, like Medicare, negotiate these prices with the manufacturers, including the transparency that we see along with other entities like Tricare, Medicaid, et cetera, then we can get an actual fair price for these medications that includes their manufacturing and R&D costs, but will not finance stock buybacks and other types of predatory behavior. And then I believe that Medicare should expand its eligibility so that people can buy into at-cost public insurance," the congresswoman stated before challenging opponents of her idea to justify their positions.
"Now, I understand that not everyone in this room agrees with that assessment," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I am very curious to hear about any other proposals because I think at the core what we're talking about is an extreme out-of-control profit motive that is, that has virtually no guardrails and that Congress doesn't impose guardrails on for a whole bunch of other dark money reasons."
Watch Ocasio-Cortez below or at this link.
\u201cRep. @AOC (D-NY) calls out \u201cout-of-control\u201d profit-seeking in the pharmaceutical industry:\n\n\u201cIf you have a public entity that does not have a profit motive, like Medicare, negotiate these prices \u2026 then we can get an actual fair price \u2026 but will not finance stock buybacks.\u201d\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1684857508
READ MORE: 'Sick and tired of being ripped off': Bernie Sanders excoriates big pharma greed
Fierce Pharma's report continues here.
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