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

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”...