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

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.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.