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Last year, the Paradise Papers laid bare the extent to which multinationals and extremely wealthy individuals exploit a broken global system. This system allows them to avoid paying their fair share of tax which contributes to poverty and inequality around the world. One year on, it is clear we still need to do more.
Last week, we revealed that it looks like New Zealand is losing $21 million a year to unfair tax avoidance by four big pharmaceutical companies – Abbott, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD), Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. Some of you may have seen comments about the way we conducted the research – our methodology. We’ve got a great blog about the methodology from our American colleagues who led the research. But we want to take a slightly different angle, because the comments about our method actually support what we are saying – that if we want an accurate picture of what companies earn and owe we need more publicly available information so that we can use more robust information.
“While the interim report has a lot of positive recommendations, there is no mention of making multinational corporations publish key financial information from each country they operate in. This is essential for countries to be able to assess exactly how much revenue governments may be losing to tax avoidance, including here in New Zealand.
The world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies appear to be dodging an estimated NZ$5.5 billion in tax per year across 16 countries, reveals a new report from Oxfam today.
The report, ‘Prescription for Poverty', analyses the financial disclosures from Pfizer, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD), Johnson & Johnson and Abbott, between 2013 and 2015 and finds:
When we at Oxfam set out to estimate the size and scope of the tax dodging by some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies for our new report, Prescription for Poverty, we had no idea it would take two years of painstaking research. Yet, because of pervasive secrecy in the tax system, we had to spend months working with local researchers to uncover even the most basic financial information about the company’s operations in countries around the world.
New Oxfam research shows that four pharmaceutical corporations—Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD), and Pfizer—systematically stash their profits in overseas tax havens. They appear to deprive developing countries of more than NZ$150 million every year—money that is urgently needed to meet the health needs of people in these countries—while vastly overcharging for their products. It is estimated that New Zealand loses NZ$21 million every year.
Eighty two per cent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one per cent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half got nothing, according to a new Oxfam report released today. The report is being launched as political and business elites gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis. While the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam today.
Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, and nothing went to the bottom 50%.
Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.