Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on the news that drug corporations expect billion-dollar tax deductions from opioid settlement:
These drug corporations – the same ones whose actions have cost the lives of more than 750,000 Americans and counting from the opioid epidemic – are now finding ways to reduce their settlements, and leaving taxpayers to make up the difference.
After refusing to take any legal responsibility for their role in fueling the opioid crisis, these executives and CEOs have the audacity to ask American taxpayers to pick up the bill for the harm they caused by peddling addictive medicines while they get a tax break. At least one of the companies – Cardinal Health – even reportedly exploited a provision passed by Congress to help companies struggling from COVID-19 to reduce its settlement by $1 billion. Not only should these corporations be paying every dime of this settlement, they should also have been held criminally liable for their role in the opioid epidemic, the billions they have cost in economic harm, and the personal devastation they caused to millions of people affected by the consequences of opioid addiction.
We know the previous administration was never interested in holding Big Pharma accountable – it was Trump’s DOJ that pushed for to settle with the corporations rather than push for higher penalties. Instead of extending more tax breaks to rich pharma executives, the Biden administration must finally prioritize public health, and meaningfully hold this industry of drug peddlers accountable.