Rep. Porter slams Big Pharma CEO over drug pricing

Mark Alles, Former Chief Executive Officer, Celgene Corporation testifies by video conference during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on unsustainable drug prices on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

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UPDATED 10:47 AM PT – Thursday, October 1, 2020

Democrat Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) took aim at Celgene CEO Mark Alles for repeatedly increasing the price of prescription drug Revlimid.

During a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday, Porter pulled out her whiteboard to call out the connection between the increase in the price of the drug and the increase in Alles’ salary and bonuses.

Revlimid is used to treat multiple myeloma, which is type of blood cancer that affects plasma cells. Since the drug’s launch in 2005, Celgene raised the price of the drug 22 times, which Porter claims was to benefit the company’s CEO.

“In fact, you personally received half a million dollars personally just by tripling the price of Revlimid,” Porter stated. “So 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.”

Revlimid now costs more than $16,000 for a month-long course and Alles was unable to answer representatives’ questions as to why the price increase did not result in an increase in the drug’s efficacy.

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