FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 5, 2015
Contact: Matt Curtis, 646-234-9062, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gilead’s decisions artificially inflate prices, limit patient access while raking in billions in profits
New York, NY – On the eve of Gilead Science’s annual shareholder meeting, activists criticized the pharmaceutical giant’s decision to price its Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) cure out of reach for millions of sick people by targeting three major hedge fund investors in the company. The groups released a new report charging Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, Steve Cohen of Point72 Asset Management, and other hedge fund managers of profiting from extortionate drug prices on the backs of 3.5 million Americans and 175 million people worldwide who are living with the virus.
Gilead charges as much as $1,125 per pill and $94,500 for a course of its lifesaving treatments, forcing health care systems to limit access, robbing patients of a decent quality of life, and forcing many into serious health problems and complications.
Hedge fund managers are laughing all the way to the bank. A pack of hedge fund managers bet big on Gilead price-gouging schemes in 2014, increasing the number of shares they held by a factor of 12. The bet turned out well for the hedge fund managers – Gilead’s stock rose 84%. But things haven’t worked so well for HCV patients who still can’t get access to Gilead’s overpriced drugs.
“The hedge fund industry directly supports Gilead’s decision to put astronomical profits over people’s lives,” said Fred Wright of the grassroots political group VOCAL New York. “Hedge fund managers, including those we’re protesting today, have unapologetically attacked any effort to control drug costs for the good of the public. They’re parasites feeding off of people’s desperation.”
While Gilead has entered into agreements to produce their HCV drugs at relatively lower prices in some low-income countries, their licensing agreements place tight restrictions on the generics market. Gilead requires its licensees to institute anti-diversion measures that violate basic standards of patient confidentiality and autonomy, interfere with doctor-patient and pharmacist-patient relationships, and may compromise adherence and treatment outcomes.
“While Gilead reports, once again, exorbitant profits from their HCV cures, the majority of the people with chronic HCV infection cannot afford them and are not being cured,” said Luis Santiago of ACT UP New York. “Millions of people will see their HCV disease progress, with horrendous yet avoidable health results. Gilead’s profiteering is letting people get sicker, knowing there is a cure. Gilead must substantially lower these outrageous prices so the rationing is lifted and we can cure everyone with HCV.”