Congresswoman Delivers Cinematic K.O with Her Whiteboard to Big Pharma CEO, Again!

The California congresswoman is renowned to make big shots come down on their knees after a merciless whiplash with her ever so useful, trusty whiteboard.
Nothing is more satisfying than seeing the big bad guy with loads of money finally coming down when the right person steps up with the right talk. 

Congresswoman Katie Porter

In this case, that is Katie Porter. It is much more satisfying than when the villain is defeated by the main lead in a cinematic verbal showdown in a movie and can even lift your spirits in hope on a bad day.

The showdown took place on May 18th, 2021 on a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Washington. The unfortunate victim of the congresswomen piercing questions and number crunching was Richard A. Gonzalez, the CEO of AbbVie, a giant pharmaceuticals company.

AbbVie is renowned for its leading drug that goes by the name Humira, which is used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. 

Autoimmune diseases are when the body’s immune system attacks the healthy cells of the body & include type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, etc, and affect many people.

AbbVie that makes the leading medicine to treat these diseases charges around $77,000 which is around Rs.56 Lakhs for just a year’s medicine. Upon investigation by the committee, it was found that there has been a 470% increase in the price from when it was introduced to the market in 2003. 

The K.O Replay 

Porter pointed out that this is the Big Pharma fairy tale that is told to justify such exorbitant rates citing that they are needed to fund the research and development process and future revolutions.

She did not hesitate one bit when she blew up those hoax theories with her whiteboard and numbers that left the CEO stumbling for words, that too in less than three minutes.

Porter stepped into the ring by probing Gonzalez with a small pink circle of paper stuck onto her whiteboard with $2.4 billion written on it, used for R&D by AbbVie.

She then moved on and started quizzing Gonzalez on various figures of expenditure and investments couple of which he had at hand while the rest he stumbled over to deliver.

Porter helped by sharing these numbers with a reluctant CEO in the same way she started, with colored paper. Circles of colored papers scaled according to the figure it represents were prepared by Porter to illustrate how exactly these “investments” are divided.

She unveiled them one by one where the pink paper was followed by a yellow circle of $4.71 billion of marketing both of which were engulfed by a massive blue circle of $50 billion on stock buybacks, all in the same period.

After sweating out Gonzalvez with her fiery questions, Porter went in for the kill, by revealing in front of the whole committee that he is feeding lies on how devastatingly high prices are natural in the process of innovative and quality treatment.

The Big Pharma Fairy Tale Lies

Porter made sure to rip off the corporate veil of lies and disclosed how most of the money of the firm goes to make sure that the firm makes money and how the tower of lies is built when the firm lies to patients on why the prices are so high for even an unimproved drug and continues to lie to officials citing R&D expenses.

Porter shared how the Big Pharma fairy tale is built on the theory that R&D justifies the amount charged for drugs, which leads to inaccessible healthcare, extreme government expenses, and an unaccountable worth of justice & healthcare denied to those who need it. 

The reality of these big pharma corporations is that the money flows to ensure that more money comes in and cushions themselves & their shareholders. When the citizens and patients deserve much better.

This is not the first time Katie Porter has served the much-needed justice by taking on big shots who take advantage of the system or leeching money, with her whiteboard.

Katie Porter’s Feats

Last year in October 2020, Porter had a similar one on one with another Big Pharma former CEO over the connections between cancer-drug price raise and his bonus.

The former CEO of Celgene, Mark Alles appeared on a similar committee meeting after an investigation revealed a plotting of two pharma companies that plotted price rise of a cancer drug to stop low-cost competition.

Along with which it was also speculated that Alles had obtained a 4% price rise in Revlimid, the cancer drug to cover up missed sales goals.

Porter once again took out her warrior companion, the trusty whiteboard, and drew up figures of his compensation raking up to millions over the years pointing out that he just got better at gouging money while the drug or patients never got any better.

Big Businesses have countless ways of feeding simple lies that an ordinary consumer might believe out of no other option.

It is such lawmakers and officials who are the only hope to question these giants and keep them under the limit without exploiting the average consumer.
May such brave hearts like Katie Porter fill up every office of the government and carry out such daily feats to save the daily consumer.

Written by – Sreya Sara Binoy
Edited by - Akanksha Sharma

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