Pfizer's Move a 'Disgrace': 2 Ways to Stop It

One involves shame, the other lucrative US contracts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Pfizer's Move a 'Disgrace': 2 Ways to Stop It
The Pfizer logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 23.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Pfizer insists that its decision to leave the US for Ireland as part of a mega-merger is for the greater good, and will actually help the US in the long run. Others have a decidedly different view. The deal with Allergan "is nothing short of a disgrace," writes John Cassidy in the New Yorker. No matter what Pfizer says, this move was dictated purely by a desire to save money in a tax dodge known as an inversion. What makes this particularly galling to Cassidy is that Pfizer has happily benefited over the years from research funded by US taxpayers under the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. "Now, Pfizer is seeking to avoid paying the taxes that are due on its profits," he writes.

So what can the US do? Efforts to curb inversions are hopelessly stalled, and the Obama administration can't legally block the move. Still, "it should seek to shame Pfizer and its board of directors into calling it off," writes Cassidy, because this is not how a supposedly "respectable corporate citizen" is supposed to act. At MarketWatch, however, Tim Mullaney suggests that US might have a stronger weapon than shame: The US should consider a "regulation steering Medicare and Medicaid’s purchases of drugs and medical devices elsewhere." After all, why should a foreign company get such contracts? If Pfizer is so interested in bottom line, that's where retaliation should be focused. Click for Mullaney's full post, or for Cassidy's full post. (More Pfizer stories.)

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