Miser Pfizer wants to tax-dodge nation that buys its drugs


Pfizer, one of the world’s leading drug companies, wants to buy AstraZeneca, set up a nominal headquarters in the United Kingdom, and avoid paying millions of dollars in U.S. taxes.

Never mind that its business model is largely dependent on the U.S. government, which pays for its drugs through programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Never mind that Americans pay the highest prices for drugs of any people on Earth. It wants to be out of here when it comes to tax purposes.

Click here to read my column in The Wall Street Journal Sunday.

Pfizer is merely following the lead of other drug companies who’ve hatched similar plans. Even Walgreen Co. is considering such a move.

Click here to read my column on that.

Yes, your corner drugstore would like to take your copay, bill your Medicare policy and then pay its taxes in Switzerland.



  1. Al: What do these corporations hope to accomplish by moving to countries with lower taxes? Lower wages? Are they really trying to bolster their piggy bank? Or is this a shifting of the tax burden back to their investors through higher taxes? (Somebody has to pay for this stuff). What happens to these companies when they visit or move back to their country of origin and there are no roads, airports, infrastructure, hospitals, etc. that they need to support their business because they decided to pay no or lower taxes? Does it make much sense for a company to pay no/lower taxes and the country of origin to borrow money to keep their sorry asses afloat?

  2. A few comments, Mr Lewis

    1) The CEO at Pfizer is doing exactly what he is paid to do: Maximize the short and long range profits of his company.

    2) I agree: we can blame the mess on our dysfunctional tax code.

    3) However, we the people elected the members of our government who enacted that code.

    4) It looks like we elected too many who are south of incompetent.

    5) I agree also: Geo W Bush signed the Medicare Part D legislation. ButCongress, both republicans and Democrats, signed off on it first. It was a team effort.

    6) All drug companies in the U S charge the highest prices in the world. Maybe their costs are also the highest, especially R & D and agency approvals

    7) If The New York Times could charge $10 for every newspaper , I’ll bet they’d do it in a heartbeat.

    8) I am enraged by the $17 Trillion debt and the $129 Trillion in unfunded obligations.

    My grandchildren were too young to vote for the pigs who enacted all this debt. It’s Taxation without representation.

    It’s totally unfair that my grandchildren should be forced to pay for any of this crap. They deserve better than this.

  3. Al,

    You are playing both sides of the coin. First, you say that: “Blame our dysfunctional tax code, which hasn’t kept pace with globalization. Why should Pfizer pay higher taxes in America when it can pay lower taxes in Great Britain?”

    Then you try and blame Pfizer for trying to manage their taxes. The you try and create the impression that Pfizer is taking advantage of the government programs. Which story do you want to go with?

    Are the drugs beneficial? Do they do what they are supposed to do? Does the quality of the drugs change if Pfizer pays less taxes to the US?

    Pick something and then stick with it, you can’t make a solid point if you keep changing directions.

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