Big Pharma Companies Happy To Use The US Government To Push Industry Agenda, Not So Happy To Pay US Taxes

from the hardly-fair dept

Big pharma companies exert considerable influence on US trade policy. Research by the Sunlight Foundation shows that the pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying for the measures it wants in TPP longer and more consistently than any other sector. For example, one of the most important -- and contentious -- chapters of TPP is about keeping drug prices artificially high. Big pharma has also been vocal in calling for the European Union to be put on the Special 301 Report's "Priority Watch List" for daring to require that basic safety data about drugs be made available. Given this wide-ranging support from the US government, you'd think that pharmaceutical companies would be only happy to pay back in the form of taxes, say, but as Quartz points out, that's far from the case:

Pfizer's bid to purchase AstraZeneca failed, but the company's attempt to move to London in an effort to avoid US corporate taxes has inspired a new round of commentary on America's corporate tax system. Perhaps it should also spur a look at America's commitment to raising drug prices around the world.

The US taxes the global income of its companies, which has lead many of the largest to keep profits overseas indefinitely to avoid paying Uncle Sam, and even shift US profits overseas to avoid public levies. So-called “inversions” -- reverse mergers where a US company buys a foreign one and assumes their jurisdiction, as Pfizer proposed -- have also become more popular. Four US pharmaceutical companies have used the tactic to go overseas in the last year, and four more are considering similar moves.
It's probably too much to hope that the US government will abandon its unquestioning support for the pharmaceutical industry, but if more drug companies do relocate overseas to avoid paying US taxes, the public outcry against it doing so may grow.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 13th, 2014 @ 2:25am

    Pharmaceutical companies do everything they can to avoid paying taxes, all the while dictating and directing trade and foreign policy to their benefit...

    The 'entertainment industry' contributes very little to the economy compared to numerous other industries, yet likewise have enormous, disproportionate political clout and power...

    Why, it's almost as though the government's been bought out by whoever throws the most money at them, but I'm sure that's not it... /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 3:53am

    Re:

    It may be whosoever has the Blade of Ambition +20 gets the most laws ruled in their favor. But that's unlikely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 4:36am

    Just say no to drugs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Capt ICE Enforcer, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Big Pharma

    Big Pharma = Free Blue Pills.
    What politician wouldn't sign up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:00am

    Read between the lines

    So Hollywood has abandoned the US and Big Pharma is doing the same thing...

    They're going where the markets are. The markets aren't in the US anymore and the government is allowing that.

    So avoid American taxes, avoid American commerce, and make money for everywhere else.

    This is a great system of democracy isn't it...? /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:02am

    Big pharma has also been vocal in calling for the European Union to be put on the Special 301 Report's "Priority Watch List" for daring to require that basic safety data about drugs be made available.

    Anybody would think they want an opportunity to sell drugs that show no immediate problems in them hope that they can recoup most of the development costs before doctors discover what they already know to be a problem with the drug.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:08am

    Re: Read between the lines

    Yeah, there is no market in the us ... film at eleven.
    In other news, only lazy people are poor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:09am

    Re:

    But .. but man boobs are sooo cool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:23am

    Re:

    How do you propose to get all of these Americans off of the Entertainment and Drug cock?

    Americans Worship their "Actors" and they love their "Drugs".

    A lot of people die from prescription drugs, not just illegal ones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 5:38am

    Big Pharma = Free Blue Pills.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    The majority of money in politicians' paychecks don't come from tax dollars. It comes from campaign contributions from corporations such as Pfizer.

    That's why we're living in a Plutocracy. The Plutocrats will continue to sell this country down river, and everyone in it, as long as their campaign coffers remain full.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Josh (profile), Jun 13th, 2014 @ 7:50am

    GE

    Other companys do the same thing. Last I heard, GE hasn't paid net taxes in several years. I assume it's the same for Ford, Chevy, Kellogg, Basically anything with a big name attached.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 13th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: GE

    Yeah, it's pretty common. It's part of one of the most perverse larger aspects of our economic system: the wealthier you are the less expensive everything is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    That's fine.

    Get rid of the Corporate taxes and just put a variable excise tax on all pharmaceuticals based on the Gross Profit of the item. Simply, Big profit = Big Taxes, payed up front, no tricks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    is this any different to other industries (like the telecoms, for eg?) and even individuals? of course not. as long as they are fleecing someone and paying no tax, they're happy!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Koby, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    taxes

    It' s wrong to say that the companies are relocating their headquarters to avoid paying US taxes. They will still have to pay US taxes for profits in the US. The reason for the switch is to avoid double taxation for profits outside of the US on which taxes were already paid and now the US govenment wants them to pay again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Ruben, Jun 13th, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Big Pharma

    Congress is still impotent.

    It didn't work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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