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.
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.
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.