New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Wednesday submitted a letter to HIV drugmaker Gilead Science’s board of directors demanding a shareholder “clawback” policy. The shareholder proposal, if approved by the board, would empower the board to “recoup” some of the money paid to top Gilead executives, like CEO Daniel O’Day.
The clawback, Stringer said, is in response to allegations — including those made in a class action lawsuit filed in May — that the company engaged in anti-competitive practices in order to charge “exorbitant prices” for its lifesaving HIV drugs. In particular, Gilead is accused of withholding a safer version of tenofovir from the market. Tenofovir is a family of drugs that comprises the backbone of Gilead’s multibillion-dollar suite of HIV treatment and prevention medicines, such as Stribild, Biktarvy and Truvada, which is commonly known as PrEP — or HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis.
“Ethics matter — and companies should hold their employees accountable when they commit misconduct,” Stringer said in a statement. “There is strong evidence that suggests Gilead purposefully raised drug prices to exorbitant levels — and that people living with HIV were denied the medicine they need to survive. It’s outrageous and now the company is facing long-term consequences.”