When I'm having a bad day, something about watching U.S. Representative Katie Porter skewer someone is uniquely satisfying. And boy, did she deliver today. The assassination took place during a congressional hearing: U.S. lawmakers were grilling AbbVie, a pharmaceutical company, about repeatedly raising U.S. prices of the anti-inflammatory drug called Humira, the best-selling prescription drug in the U.S.—you've probably seen the commercials—while slashing the price in other countries. AbbVie has argued that the price increases were necessary to innovate. Many of the lawmakers were not buying it, especially Porter.
After whipping out her trusty and dangerous whiteboard that so many white men have come to fear (AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez was off camera at this moment, but you can imagine him quivering in fear), Porter asked Gonzalez how much AbbVie spends on stock buybacks and dividends. He said he'd have to get back to her. So Porter brought out the big guns, a.k.a. a big sticky note that showed AbbVie spent 50 billion dollars from 2013 to 2018 on stock buybacks and dividends to enrich shareholders— and a much smaller amount on research and development, or R&D, the department that works to improve drugs.
Porter started trending on Twitter after she posted the clip of her questioning.
Big Pharma says they need to charge astronomical prices to pay for research and development. Yet, the amount they spend on manipulating the market to enrich shareholders completely eclipses what's spent on R&D. Today, I confronted a CEO about the industry's lies, with visuals ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/c3jSLr0yVdMay 18, 2021
“The Big Pharma fairytale is one of groundbreaking R&D that justifies astronomical prices, but the pharma reality is that you spent most of your company’s money making money for yourself and your shareholders,” she says after the inquisition. “You’re feeding us lies that we must pay astronomical prices to get innovative products."
I almost felt bad watching. Almost.
Megan DiTrolio is the editor of features and special projects at Marie Claire, where she oversees all career coverage and writes and edits stories on women’s issues, politics, cultural trends, and more. In addition to editing feature stories, she programs Marie Claire’s annual Power Trip conference and Marie Claire’s Getting Down To Business Instagram Live franchise.
The 15 Best Comedy Movies on Hulu
For when you just need a good laugh.
By Megan DiTrolio
The Spring 2022 Handbag Trends to Get Excited About
The humble bucket bag is back.
By Sara Holzman
The Hottest New Beauty Trend Is Ice Cold
These ingenious cryotherapy-inspired finds are worth bearing the chill.
By Rachel Jacoby Zoldan
The Supreme Court's Mississippi Abortion Rights Case: What to Know
The case could threaten Roe v. Wade.
By Megan DiTrolio
Sex Trafficking Victims Are Being Punished. A New Law Could Change That.
Victims of sexual abuse are quietly criminalized. Sara's Law protects kids that fight back.
By Dr. Devin J. Buckley and Erin Regan
My Family and I Live in Navajo Nation. We Don't Have Access to Clean Running Water
"They say that the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Why are citizens still living with no access to clean water?"
By Amanda L. As Told To Rachel Epstein
30 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men
If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, show them these statistics.
By Megan Friedman
Clarissa Ward on What It's Really Like to Report Live From Ukraine Right Now
The network's chief foreign correspondent on pivoting from Kabul to Kharkiv and Kyiv.
By Maria Ricapito
Cory Booker and Rosario Dawson's Relationship Is No More
After three years of dating, the power couple have decided they're better off as friends.
By Marie Claire Editors
Education for Women and Girls Is Crucial for Climate Justice
In an excerpt from her new book, 'A Bigger Picture,' Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate discusses the impact educated African women and girls can have on solving the climate crisis.
By Vanessa Nakate
It’s Time to End Equal Pay Days and Pass the Equal Rights Amendment
The passage of the ERA is a chance for our country to prove it truly values women.
By Hala Ayala