New Oxfam research shows that four pharmaceutical companies – Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer – systematically hide their profits in overseas tax havens. They appear to deprive developing countries of more than $100m (around £80m) every year – money that is urgently needed to meet the health needs of people in these countries – while charging very high prices for their products. In the UK, these four companies may be underpaying around £125m of tax each year. These corporations also deploy massive lobbying operations to influence trade, tax and health policies in their favour and give their damaging behavior greater apparent legitimacy. Tax dodging, high prices and political influencing by pharmaceutical companies exacerbate the yawning gap between rich and poor, between men and women, and between advanced economies and developing ones.
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