- File Under Big Pharma
Gilead avoids billions in U.S. taxes on its $1,000-a-pill drug
By Richard Rubin,
WASHINGTON — Gilead Sciences Inc., whose $1,000-a-pill hepatitis C treatment is one of the world's most expensive drugs, is avoiding billions of dollars in U.S. taxes by booking profits overseas.
The company reported foreign income before taxes of $8.2 billion for 2014, earning more in non-U.S. profits than it recorded in non-U.S. sales. The data released in a securities filing Wednesday suggest that Gilead is taking advantage of U.S. rules that let companies shift valuable intellectual property to low-tax countries, said Robert Willens, an independent tax consultant based in New York.
"Whenever you have huge, very high profit margins and a lot of income as well, it almost always results from the exploitation of intangibles," Willens said in a telephone interview. "It's quite a dramatic increase from one year to the other. That's something you don't see very often."