‘Do You Know What This Number Is?’ Rep Porter Confronts Pharmaceutics CEO

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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California Rep. Katie Porter criticized the former CEO of Celgene Pharmaceuticals during a congressional hearing Wednesday for collecting a multimillion-dollar salary while raising the price of a lifesaving drug.

“Do you know what this number is?” Porter asked Mark Alles, Celgene’s former CEO, writing out “$13 million” on her whiteboard. “Does it ring any bells?”

Porter said the number was Alles’s salary, which she said was 200 times that of the average American and 360 times the amount that the average American senior receives from social security.

Porter said Alles’s compensation was based on Celgene’s profits, accusing him of raising the price Revlimid, a drug used to combat cancers in bone marrow, in order to increase Celgene’s profits and his own salary. (RELATED: 500 Cities, Counties And Tribes Sue Big Pharma Billionaire Family)

“In fact, the [House] Oversight Committee found that if you hadn’t increased the price of Revlimid, you wouldn’t have gotten your bonus,” Porter said, before stating that Alles had personally received $500,000 simply for raising the price of the drug.

“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. You just refined your skills at price gauging,” Porter said.

A video of Porter’s questioning has since been viewed over 15 million times.

In 2019 she pressed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on “what an REO [real estate owned property] is,” to which he responded, “Oreo?” In March she repeatedly pressed CDC Director Robert Redfield into promising free coronavirus testing for all Americans, The Washington Post reported.

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