Apr 9, 2019

4 pharma companies saved $7 billion from GOP tax law

Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Four pharmaceutical companies — Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck and Abbott Laboratories — collectively kept $7 billion in tax savings in 2018 due to Republicans' 2017 corporate tax overhaul, according to a new Oxfam report.

The bottom line: Oxfam's results mirror our reporting, which shows pharmaceutical companies in particular have benefited from bringing back billions of dollars in overseas profits that have sat untaxed. However, this report says the tax savings have not led to other social goods, like more research investment in new drugs or lower drug prices.

By the numbers: The 4 companies highlighted by Oxfam mostly benefited from the repatriation of overseas cash.

  • $5.3 billion of the $7 billion of tax savings in 2018 came from bringing home untaxed offshore cash.

The big picture: "These are all policy choices," Niko Lusiani, a senior adviser at Oxfam, who wrote the report, said of the tax law and its effects. "And we haven't seen any big changes" in pharmaceutical industry behavior.

  • Oxfam focused on just 4 drug companies because they are large, representative and U.S.-based, Lusiani said.
  • Oxfam may take a deeper look at the pharmaceutical sector, but the group wanted to evaluate the short-term effect of the corporate tax overhaul and specifically whether drug companies were living up to their promises that the law would boost jobs, assets and productivity in the U.S.

Go deeper: Read Oxfam's report.

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Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion to back climate change research with new "Earth Fund"

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.

The next decade of smart city growth

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Transportation and energy upgrades are expected to be the big drivers of smart city spending over the next decade.

Why it matters: Global spending on smart city projects will reach nearly $124 billion this year, an 18% increase over 2019, according to IDC, a market research firm.

Egg freezing frees women from their biological clocks but isn't foolproof

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A lucrative industry for egg freezing has sprouted in the past 10 years, allowing women to postpone pregnancy. Experts say easy access to the procedure isn't translating into more women using the eggs they put on ice.

The big picture: Nearly 90% of women said they were happy they froze their eggs, regardless of whether they will ultimately get used, according to FertilityIQ, an educational and reviewing site for fertility clinics.

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