Big Pharma gets sloppy when it comes to taxes and cheap manufacturing. They like to offshore their money to avoid tax and to offshore manufacturing to get mass-produced drugs and equipment dirt cheap.
Because of the huge $$$ numbers involved politicians and lobbyists are always involved. Votes for friendly legislation go to the biggest donors.
Enter the Chinese. They have inserted themselves deep into our political process and are buying their way into the heart of our economy. But now, in the wake of the Chinese Flu we’re all realizing we’re too dependent on China for pharmaceutical ingredients that go into generic medicines like penicillin, Advil, and Tylenol – and for any medical equipment that requires sterile production and high quality manufacturing.
Why Puerto Rico?
Let’s back up and look at why Puerto Rico is important here. We all know the territory wants statehood. But right now it enjoys an interesting relationship with the Union and it’s one that could be adapted to rebuild its shattered economy without going on USA welfare.
Back in 1976, the Democratic Congress passed—and President Ford signed—the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which made corporate income generated in U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands tax free. Puerto Rico’s already had a generous offshore tax law, (it was popular with island nations during the 1970s-80s) which meant that corporate subsidiaries based in Puerto Rico paid zero tax, so long as they distributed their profits as dividends.
American pharmaceutical companies dashed to avail themselves of the tax-free opportunity. Because of the American connection, they could still have some say over quality control. America got good medicine – the pharmaceutical companies made more money, much of which went into R&D.
A 1993 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that pharmaceutical companies represented, by far, the largest beneficiaries of the Puerto Rican corporate tax system, benefiting to the tune of $86 million in 1985.(Forbes)
Naturally, the US government wanted that money back and started to shut down the tax breaks. Bill Clinton put the nail in the coffin in 1996.
Pharma immediately sent manufacturing overseas to tax-friendly jurisdictions – the good stuff that needed patent protection was made in Ireland; the cheapest, generic medicines were outsourced to India and China. And we now know what their standards are like!
All the businesses relying on the tax breaks fled the island for more welcoming shores. Puerto Rico’s economy collapsed and it has been exploited by corrupt leftists ever since.
So, here’s my plan. Reinstate the Puerto Rico tax breaks. Mandate FDA standards. Tell the Puerto Rico government we’ll reconsider statehood when they’re solvent. Win. Win. Win.