Rep. Katie Porter ripped into pharma executive Mark Alles for repeated price hikes on a cancer drug Revlimid



a close up of a person talking on a cell phone: U.S. Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) speaks at a campaign town hall meeting with Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Mason City, Iowa, U.S., January 11, 2020. Brian Snyder/Reuters


© Brian Snyder/Reuters
U.S. Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) speaks at a campaign town hall meeting with Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Mason City, Iowa, U.S., January 11, 2020. Brian Snyder/Reuters

  • Rep. Katie Porter tore into Celgene CEO Mark Alles over price hikes on a cancer drug, during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
  • Porter, alongside freshman congresswomen Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, grilled the CEOs of Teva, Celgene, and Bristol-Myers Squibb as part of a House Oversight Committee investigation into the pricing of Teva’s Multiple Sclerosis drug Copaxone and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s multiple myeloma drug Revlimid. 
  • During the congressional hearing, Porter, a former consumer protection attorney, tore into Alles, writing key figures in her questions — such as how much the CEO makes, how much a single pill of Revlimid cost over the years, and how much his bonus was as a result — on a whiteboard to a striking effect.
  • “Did the drug start to work faster? Were there fewer side effects? How did you change the formula or production of Revlimid to justify this price increase?” Porter asked.
  • Alles confirmed that the manufacturing for the drug remained the same but said the drug was approved for new indications.
  • “To recap here: The drug didn’t get any better, the cancer patients didn’t get any better, you just got better at making money, you just refined your skills at price gouging,” Porter replied.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Katie Porter grilled Celgene CEO Mark Alles Wednesday over price hikes on a cancer drug, which she said resulted in a half-million bonus for the pharma executive.

Loading...

Load Error

Alles appeared before the House Oversight Committee alongside the CEOs of Teva and Bristol-Myers Squibb as part of a House investigation into the pricing of Teva’s Multiple Sclerosis drug Copaxone and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s multiple myeloma drug Revlimid. Alles served as CEO of Celgene before it was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2019.

“Since launching Revlimid in 2005, Celgene raised the price of the drug 22 times, from $215 per pill to $719 per pill,” according to documents from House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney. “After Bristol Myers Squibb obtained the rights to Revlimid last November, it raised the price of Revlimid again, to $763 per pill. Due to these price increases, a monthly course of Revlimid is priced at $16,023 today — more than triple the 2005 price.”

During the congressional hearing Wednesday, Porter, a former consumer protection attorney, tore into Alles, writing key figures in her questions — such as how much the CEO makes, how much a single pill of Revlimid cost over the years, and how much his bonus was as a result — on a whiteboard to striking effect.

“Did the drug start to work faster? Were there fewer side effects? How did you change the formula or production of Revlimid to justify this price increase?” Porter said. Alles confirmed that the manufacturing for the drug remained the same but said the drug was approved for new indications.

In response, Porter said Alles had been compensated $13 million in 2017 when he was CEO of Celgene — as well as a $500,000 bonus over the last two years after the company hiked the price of Revlimid, the congresswoman said.

“To recap here: The drug didn’t get any better, the cancer patients didn’t get any better, you just got better at making money, you just refined your skills at price gouging,” Porter said.

Porter was joined by other freshman lawmakers Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ayanna Pressley in pressing the other CEOs at the hearing, as part of the 18-month investigation into the drug price hikes.

Continue Reading

Source Article