Friday, November 27, 2015

The accountants rule

I have nothing wrong with accountants. They pay attention to the little details in numbers that I some how don't understand. I have an accountant I use to do my taxes and take care of my financial stuff. My husband has an MBA and he can explain all the financial stuff on a level that I need to understand.

I used to work for a company where each year when I had to present my budgets to accountants, they drew straws on who would have to deal with me. Because I wasn't enough of a numbers person for them. I know they are important. But they also can be too focused on numbers and not on people.

Now we have a problem. Big pharma companies are beginning to focus on their profits and not on creating better medications for patients. Why? Because now that the accountants are beginning to rule.

In the last few decades it has not been unusual for pharma companies, and others, to merge, move, and streamline themselves for financial reasons. Have a competitor? Buy him out, problem solved. Some one designed a good product? Buy them out and take advantage of their technology.

But now big pharma companies are taking it a step farther. They are letting their accountants take over and make BIG financial decisions to take better care of their bottom line. First they are moving to countries with lower tax rates. Then they will lose a lot of staff and potentially stifle innovation as they hire new scientists who start over in development, but they will save a lot of money over all. And example of this is Pfizer which is buying Allergan.

"Pfizer is the largest drug maker in the United States, but after striking a deal on Monday to buy Allergan, the company is on the verge of becoming Irish.

For shareholders, this may be their lucky charm. After the merger, Pfizer will be able to shift its legal headquarters from New York to Dublin and pay lower taxes, which should bolster its bottom line. 

But in the process, scientists are likely to lose their jobs, innovation may suffer, and consumers could pay more for Pfizer medicines."

To me this deal sounds like only the accountants and share holders will be happy. So I must ask: What about the patients?

Maybe its time for the politicians to step forward and say the US will negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for their medications, only if they are based in the US, paying US taxes, and hiring American citizens to work there? Just an idea.

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