A motion brought by radical group Pride in Protest to challenge the sponsorship of American pharmaceutical giant, Gilead, due to its “price gouging” was passed at the most recent Mardi Gras AGM.
Gilead manufactures and sells the HIV preventative drug, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) under the brand names Truvada and Discovy. Thanks to Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the drug sells here for around $8-$40 per monthly supply.
In the US, however, it retails at $1760 per month. Gilead has been accused of abusing its patent rights by price gouging, and the US government is now bringing legal action against the company.
Lead member of Pride in Protest, Charlie Murphy, was voted onto the Mardi Gras Board of Directors and will spearhead a campaign against Gilead and other corporate sponsors that do not align with LGBTQI values, human rights, and environmental issues.
“I think Gilead really spoke to so many people of the membership base, just because of how close it hit to home,” said Murphy.
“The fight against HIV and AIDS has been so important in our community and has played such a big part in Mardi Gras. The fact that Mardi Gras chose to partner with a company who is actively working against that really upset, not just our supporters, but the membership at large.”
Currently, Mardi Gras’ only criteria for sponsorship considers a company’s workplace culture, not its broader community impact.