LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization and a vocal critic of drug profiteering and runaway drug pricing, today is shining a light on one of the most egregious practitioners of such greed: Gilead Sciences, the leading HIV/AIDS drug maker, and its billionaire CEO John Martin, who is stepping down after 20 years at the helm with vast riches just as the Bay Area drug company faces increasing heat and scrutiny over its AIDS and Hepatitis C drug pricing, patents & policies.
As Gilead’s exorbitant drug pricing continues to break the bank of state and federal drug programs as well as private insurers, prison systems and the network of AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, CEO Martin is stepping down a billionaire. Martin made $204 million in 2014 alone. According to USA Today Martin “…pulled in compensation valued at nearly $180 million in 2013, including stock option gains worth $158 million.” All while Gilead continued its practice of pillaging U.S. taxpayers as a means to fund the company’s unbridled corporate gluttony.
“When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously replied, ‘Because that’s where the money is.’ In the 60s, Dustin Hoffman’s film character in ‘The Graduate’ was advised: ‘Plastics.’ Today, the money is clearly—and obscenely—in pharmaceuticals. John Martin’s accountant and tax man can clearly vouch for this as Mr. Martin’s tenure at Gilead draws to a close,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The drug industry is simply out of control. Witness Turing Pharmaceuticals’ Martin Shkreli and his recent antics. But John Martin is king: he is a stealth operator, a 20-year veteran at Gilead who brought us the $94,000 hepatitis treatment, a $28,000 first line AIDS treatment, as well as evergreened patents, waiting lists and ‘Sophie’s Choice’ playing out for access to lifesaving drugs in cash-strapped government programs across the nation.”
The BioPharma Dive article on Martin’s retirement today also noted that Harvard Business Review singled Mr. Martin out in 2014, “… for delivering a staggering 7,000% industry-adjusted shareholder return.”
“7,000%—but at what cost to humanity?” added Weinstein. “What good is this shareholder return if people and governments are unable to afford these lifesaving medicines? Do we really and publicly want medicine for the one percent? Between the gouging and the compensation, it’s simply obscene.”
Earlier this week, Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, threatened Gilead with a legal complaint over its Hepatitis C drug prices, stressing that the costs have put a massive squeeze on public programs like Medicaid, according to BioPharma Dive, which also reported on Martin’s departure earlier today. On Tuesday, AHF filed a federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate Gilead’s patents on key AIDS drugs.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 588,000 individuals in 35 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.