December 4, 2015  |  

New Yorkers Denounce Pfizer’s Plan to Desert America to Dodge Taxes

December 4, 2015


Protestors Call on Sen. Schumer and N.Y. Congressional Delegation to Block Pfizer’s Action

New York City – Today, at a protest in front of Pfizer’s world headquarters in New York City, 50 New Yorkers denounced Pfizer’s plan to desert America in order to dodge its taxes. They called on U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and New York’s Congressional delegation to pass legislation blocking Pfizer’s action before the merger is officially approved by shareholders in mid 2016.

“We are here today in front of Pfizer because this giant drug company has decided to desert America. It is using a giant tax loophole to dodge tens of billions of dollars in taxes that it owes to the American people,” said Americans for Tax Fairness Executive Director Frank Clemente. “Pfizer is not actually going anywhere. It is simply shifting its corporate address to Ireland —a tax haven. As a result, Pfizer will shirk its responsibilities to the people of New York and to the people of America.”

Pfizer is one of the world’s largest and most profitable drug companies. It recently announced a merger with the smaller Irish drug company Allergan. The main reason is to lower its tax rate by changing its corporate address to a tax haven. This is known as a “corporate inversion.”  It is a well-known tax dodge:  Pfizer will keep its headquarters in New York City and other operations in the U.S. – but it will no longer be required to pay its fair share of taxes for the public services that have made it a very successful company.

“We New Yorkers who are gathered together here today outside Pfizer’s World Headquarters are angry,” said Mark Hannay, the director of Metro New York Health Care for All. “We’re angry because Pfizer is now moving ahead with a sham corporate merger, known as an inversion, that will stick us everyday taxpayers with the tab for paying for public programs and services, while they dance a jig across the Atlantic to Ireland.

“We’re angry because Pfizer is yet again shirking its responsibility to help support our nation, our state, and our city that has enabled them to make so much profit since the company’s founding here in New York City decades ago.”

This tax dodge would save Pfizer billions. Pfizer has up to $140 billion in profits stashed offshore on which it has not paid U.S. taxes. The inversion will likely enable Pfizer to avoid paying tens of billions of dollars it owes on those profits – and more on future profits through tax-haven tax rates. Meanwhile, Pfizer has $1 billion a year in federal government contracts, and it rakes in huge profits by charging sky-high prices for its products, which forces up health insurance premiums and price gouges Medicare, Medicaid, ADAP, and other government programs. [See report at]

Sen. Schumer should lead efforts in Congress to block Pfizer from deserting America. This merger will not be completed until the second quarter of 2016. That is enough time for Congress to pass legislation that will remove the tax incentives that made this deal possible.

“It’s time to overhaul our tax system that is rigged for big corporations and the wealthy. We need to create a tax system that works for all of us. That should start by closing the loophole that is letting Pfizer desert America. Congress can stop it now. We have a few months before this deal is finalized. Sen. Schumer can lead the effort,” Clemente said.

In addition to Clemente and Hannay, other speakers included:

  • N.Y. State Senator Liz Kueger, who is the ranking member of the N.Y. State Senate Finance Committee and represents the district that includes Pfizer’s world headquarters
  • New York City Public Advocate Letitia James
  • George Altomare, United Federation of Teachers, Retired Teachers Chapter

“Pfizer’s tax dodge is a symptom of a serious disease: an epidemic of corporate tax dodging. The prescription is clear: block Pfizer’s inversion and bring our tax code back to health so that corporations pay their fair share,” Clemente concluded.

Americans for Tax Fairness is a diverse coalition of 425 national and state endorsing organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of members. The organization was formed on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF is playing a central role in Washington and in the states on federal tax-reform issues.


Ron Eckstein, Communications Director, Americans for Tax Fairness

(202) 454-6198