KEY TAKEAWAY: Employees have to have pride in the company they work for in order to give 100%, but questionable practices can erode employee confidence and lead to a culture of people who are there to collect paychecks.
According to STAT news Gilead Sciences has become one of the world’s largest drug makers. Since 2013, revenues have tripled to more than $32 billion and profits grew sixfold, exceeding $18 billion. But beyond successful marketing of lifesaving medicines, the company has excelled in another way — using loopholes to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes. By transferring certain key assets to Ireland, Gilead was able to take advantage of tax laws that allowed some US sales to be shifted overseas and yield a significantly lower tax rate. It may be within the law, but that doesn’t make it right or moral.
Then there is Roche, who paid a small fine for illegal marketing of a cancer drug that may have shortened the lives of patients who were not good candidates to receive the drug.
How do you think the people working at these companies feel about their corporate responsibilities? Sure, they can rationalize that their drugs provide benefits to patients, but that is a cop-out. Last week a colleague of mine was offered a very good job at Gilead and turned it down. She said “I just can’t work for a company that uses the law to avoid paying taxes on a pill that costs so much”.
Employee’s have to be proud of the company they work for to give their all. In pharma that’s getting harder for some people as Wall Street remains more important than “doing the right thing”.