Trending News Today: Gilead Accused of Avoiding Paying Billions in Taxes

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

By moving some of its assets to Ireland to be taxed at a lower rate, Gilead Sciences avoided nearly $10 billion in taxes, reported The Washington Post. Through the sales of expensive specialty drugs for hepatitis C, the company’s revenue has tripled since 2012, to $32.6 billion last year. According to a report by the liberal advocacy group Americans for Tax Fairness, the pharmaceutical company has moved some US drug sales abroad to avoid paying billions in taxes. In 2015, nearly two-thirds of Gilead revenues were generated by US sales, but the US accounted for only 37% of its profits before taxes, according to the report. “Gilead excels at tax dodging and price gouging,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) told the Post. “Instead of innovation, it has spent more on stock buybacks for executives and shareholders than on research and development.”

After being placed on clinical hold last week by the FDA following 2 patient deaths, Juno Therapeutics Inc will resume a drug trial for a potential leukemia treatment, reported The Wall Street Journal. The 2 deaths, as well as another in May, occurred in a phase 2 trial of the experimental treatment JCAR015 in adult B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. In after-hours trading, Juno’s shares increased 25.3% to $34.83; however, the stock fell 32% on Friday after the hold was announced from its previous close of $40.82.

Merck & Co has announced plans to lay off research and development workers at 3 of its East Coast sites. According to The Wall Street Journal, the decision is part of a shakeup of the company’s early-stage drug-hunting efforts, including a new focus on the health effects of micro-organisms. A spokeswoman from Merck told the Journal that the job cuts, and some employee transfers, would affect less than 10% of discovery, preclinical, and early development employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.