Mylan is one of the most loathsome companies on Earth. Usually, they are hated for charging people with life-threatening allergies extortionate amounts of money for the only drug on the market that can help them. But a new report points out that there are many other reasons to hate the company. Namely, contributing to air pollution while they sell drugs to help people with respiratory problems.
For people with severe allergies, having an EpiPen can mean the difference between life and death. Because there's no generic alternative, EpiPen manufacturer Mylan just keeps jacking up the price and ripping off patients. They also seem to have ripped off the US government. Today, a probe by the US Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the company actually stiffed American taxpayers for three times more than was previously believed.
Reuters reports that Mylan has taken advantage of a little-known tax break for years and saved "hundreds of millions of dollars". In 2004, US Congress approved tax cuts that encourage companies to fund so-called "clean coal". It was a misguided initiative because clean coal isn't really a thing and now the US is stuck with this stupid tax break until 2021.
Mylan is aggressive when it comes to lowering its tax bill. It moved its headquarters overseas in 2015 and it paid a tax rate of 7.4 per cent. Thanks to strategies such as investing in coal, the company actually had an effective tax rate of negative 294 per cent in 2016.
Mylan has a 99 per cent share in five companies that own clean coal processing plants. The coal is later sold to power plants at a loss and Mylan gets a fat write-off. Contacted by Reuters, Mylan confirmed that it took over $US100 million ($133 million) in tax credits in 2016 and 2015. The tax credit system gives $US6.81 ($9.03) per ton of coal that a company refines. Mylan's five companies refined 16 million tonnes of coal in 2016.
This shady business gets shadier when you consider the fact that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of US Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The state is the second-biggest producer of coal and one of the companies owned by Mylan, Powder Street LLC, is based there.
As the New Republic points out, there's also another benefit to Mylan that comes from pumping a horrible pollutant into the air: It manufactures two different drugs that treat pulmonary problems. Over the years, science has found links between asthma and air pollution from coal-fuelled power plants. But other studies have disagreed. Scientists do agree that air pollution exacerbates asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Hey, that's just capitalism.