Change to Win on Reports about Walgreens’ Inversion Decision: “Inversion is not in the interest of America and not in the interest the Walgreens’ stakeholders”

The following statement can be attributed to Nell Geiser, Associate Director of Change to Win Retail Initiatives:

“If reports are accurate and Walgreens will not leave America to avoid taxes, this has been an unnecessarily drawn-out and secretive process to arrive where Walgreens should have been from the start: an inversion is not in the interest of America and not in the interest the company’s stakeholders.

“This tax dodge could have cost U.S. taxpayers $4 billion in the first five years. It appears that the company changed its mind after an outcry from Washington and customers across America made it rethink this decision.

“The question remains, in this transformational moment with turmoil in the company’s leadership, is Walgreens doing what’s best for its long-term stakeholders or is it unduly influenced by banks, hedge funds and its international partner.”

Change to Win Retail Initiatives co-authored a study with Americans for Tax Fairness on the potential costs of a Walgreens inversion to Switzerland—an estimated $4 billion in the first five years. The groups also documented that Walgreens receives roughly $17 billion a year—nearly a quarter of its revenue—from Medicare and Medicaid.

Change to Win consulted with former Treasury official Stephen Shay on a proposal outlining how the Obama administration could take earnings stripping incentives out of inversions. Change to Win estimates that more than 80 percent of Walgreens’ earnings stripping opportunities with inversion would be removed by Shay’s proposal. The exact figure is dependent on a number of factors related to the company’s new capital structure.

A group of Senators called for executive action to stop inversions today in a letter to President Obama.

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Change to Win Retail Initiatives is a project of the Change to Win labor federation. Since 2005, it has been an active stakeholder in the pharmacy industry, advocating on behalf of workers and the general public for consumer protections, health care access, tax fairness and other safeguards to rebuild the middle class.