AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez got the full Katie Porter white board and sticky note treatment. As usual, it was glorious.
She began her questioning with some simple-enough questions about what they spent on R&D, executive compensation and other expenses, using round sticky notes to depict the amount of their revenue tossed into those buckets. Research and development is always the excuse pharma companies use for why they jack up prices on their drugs, and Porter was on a mission to destroy that "Big Pharma Fairy Tale."
After she got the little things out of the way, she tackled their marketing costs before hitting the Big Spender category: Stock Buybacks and Dividends. Gonzalez ducked, but Porter knew (they should know by now that Katie Porter ALWAYS knows) the number: $50 Billion.
How many times have we heard that pharmaceutical companies are entitled to high drug prices to recover their R&D costs? It's their knee-jerk response. And here we have it again from a CEO who obviously underestimated Rep. Katie Porter and her command of the facts.
AbbVie's Big Product is Humira -- a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis which is also used for other autoimmune diseases. Lawmakers are using AbbVie and the price of Humira as evidence that Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices.
U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday accused the chief executive of AbbVie Inc (ABBV.N) of profiting from Americans by repeatedly raising U.S. prices on its widely-used Humira rheumatoid arthritis drug while cutting the price abroad.
The increases should prompt Congress to pass a law allowing the Medicare federal health plan to negotiate prices with drug companies, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight Committee.
The committee issued a staff report that said AbbVie exploited the U.S. patent system to fend off competitors and increased the price of Humira to $77,000 for a year's supply, while the price of its cancer drug Imbruvica was raised to $181,529 per year.
Or, as Porter observed: "You lie to patients when you charge them twice as much for an unimproved drug, when you tell us that R&D justifies those price increases. The Big Pharma fairy tale is one of groundbreaking R&D that justifies astronomical prices. But the pharma reality is that you spend most of that money making money for yourself and your shareholders."
I wonder how much AbbVie paid that guy to be raked over the coals by Rep. Katie Porter.
imagine coming home and your significant other is sitting down next to Katie Porter who is holding a white board and they are like "please sit down"
— Poorly Drawn Turtle (@NoTheOtherJohn) May 18, 2021
Katie Porter, you have a standing invite to teach critical thinking and good question generation to my students. Any time, in person or virtually. Seriously. Interested?
— Editing Teacher (@EditTeach) May 18, 2021
Do these overpaid CEO's know beforehand that Katie Porter will be questioning them? I would think so. Why are they not prepared?
— Jeff Keyes 🌊 (@JeffKeyes01) May 18, 2021
One of my biggest fears is that I say something a little too confidently in public and Katie Porter appears out from behind a bush with her white board in hand.
— Rick Austin (@_RickAustin) May 18, 2021
You gotta love how prepared she is to crush the soul of any who cross her path. "I don't know the number, I can get back to you with that..."
She already fucking knows dude. You about to get BODIED. https://t.co/gNDfLdOPyB
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 18, 2021
You would think by now these CEOs would figure out that they should at least be prepared to face the Divine Rep. Porter. Apparently not.