Big pharma firms contribute to inequality by avoiding tax, says Oxfam report; incl. companies’ statement

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Article
18 September 2018

Big Pharma cheating countries out of billions in tax

Author: Oxfam New Zealand

The report, ‘Prescription for Poverty', analyses the financial disclosures from Pfizer, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and Abbott, between 2013 and 2015 and finds:

  • The companies appear to be dodging an estimated NZ$5.5 billion in taxes in nine developed countries...Of this an estimated NZ$3.4 billion of tax was avoided per year in the US, enough to pay for health insurance for nearly 1 million poor children...
  • The companies also appear to be avoiding an estimated NZ$167 million per year of tax across seven developing countries...If these governments invested this money in healthcare, it could pay for 10 million girls to be vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer...

‘Prescription for Poverty’ also outlines how the companies undermine poor people’s health by overpricing medicines - putting them out of reach for cash strapped public health services and poor patients...

Tax dodging is fuelling the inequality crisis, widening the gap between rich and poor. When drug companies dodge tax, it is the poorest in society who suffer the most as governments seek to balance their budgets by cutting essential services and raising other forms of tax...

“These drug companies present themselves as being concerned with social responsibility, but their business practices tell a different story....

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Article
18 September 2018

Pharmaceutical companies avoiding $215m a year in Australian tax, Oxfam says

Author: Luke Henriques-Gomes, Guardian (UK)

The pharmaceutical companies...have avoided paying about $215m in taxes in Australia annually over three years, Oxfam has claimed in a new report.

...Prescription for Poverty...examine[s] the tax practices of four of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD Australia), and Abbott.

It said the companies in question “systematically stash their profits in overseas tax havens”. The companies are understood to reject Oxfam’s claims.

In addition to the claim that the companies have avoided paying $215m each year between 2013 and 2015 in Australia, Oxfam said they “may be unfairly avoiding more than $146m every year in developing countries”...

A Johnson & Johnson spokesman said the company complied with tax requirements in every jurisdiction it operated in...

A Pfizer spokesman said the company “abides by all accounting and tax laws wherever we do business and pays all taxes due”.

A spokesman for MSD Australia said: “MSD Australia strictly adheres to all taxation laws and regulations in this country. Merck globally also complies with all tax rules on a worldwide basis.”

An Abbott spokeswoman said the company was a “responsible and transparent tax payer, paying all of its taxes owed in every country in which it operates around the world”...

 

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Report
18 September 2018

Prescription for Poverty

Author: Oxfam New Zealand

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