WASHINGTON, March 18 – Sen. Bernie Sanders urged Secretary Jack Lew in a letter today to use the Department of the Treasury’s untapped authority to prevent Pfizer’s planned maneuver to dodge taxes in the United States.
If allowed to proceed, Pfizer will use its planned merger with Ireland-based Allergan to identify as an Irish corporation for tax purposes but will continue to reap the benefits of being an American-based corporation. Preventing the merger could save as much as $35 billion in revenue, according to a recent study from Americans for Tax Fairness.
“The stakes are high,” Sanders wrote. “I find it ironic that some of my Republican colleagues, in their internal budget negotiations, claim that $30 billion in deficit-reduction is required for the coming fiscal year. Preventing the inversion planned by just one company, Pfizer, could produce more deficit-reduction than the cuts they are demanding.”
Sanders introduced the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act last year to prevent offshore corporate tax avoidance schemes, including inversions.
Several respected legal scholars have concluded that until such legislation is enacted the Treasury Department has the authority to block the tax dodging techniques that will become available to Pfizer if the proposed merger with Allergan is completed.
Pfizer has consistently overcharged Americans for prescription drugs. Since 2014, the pharmaceutical company has hiked the prices of seven of its top selling drugs by an average of 39 percent. Pfizer also charges 12 times as much in the U.S. under Medicare for these drugs as it charges in Ireland, where it’s claiming a new address for tax purposes.
“Enough is enough,” Sanders said. “Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies cannot be allowed evade taxes and rip off American patients who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.”
To read Sanders’ letter, click here.