Carper, Coons, Carney Send Letter to Pfizer CEO on Potential AstraZeneca Buy-Out
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney (all D-Del.) sent a letter to Pfizer’s CEO in an effort to protect the jobs of the 2,600 workers AstraZeneca currently employs in Delaware. The text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. Read,
We are writing in reference to Pfizer’s attempts to purchase AstraZeneca, which employs thousands in our region and has partnered with us to improve the healthcare system in Delaware. Our governor, Jack Markell, recently wrote to you concerning the merger, and you will likely be hearing from other Members of Congress concerned about how Pfizer’s takeover of AstraZeneca will impact jobs, our states’ healthcare system and national drug pipeline, and tax revenue. We share those concerns and are especially mindful of the negative impact this merger could have on the thousands of dedicated AstraZeneca employees in our state. Clearly, this potential merger will receive heightened scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators, and the general public.
As you may know, for more than a decade, the state of Delaware has invested tens of millions of dollars to attract and retain AstraZeneca in our state. Our federal and state representatives have worked tirelessly to support the important life-saving work done by AstraZeneca and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. AstraZeneca’s Delaware workforce is among the best in the industry, and we strongly believe that any merger with Pfizer should include an advance commitment to maintain and grow its presence in Delaware. We are also interested in learning what commitments you can make regarding how the acquisition would affect AstraZeneca’s strong investment in patient assistance programs that serve Delaware’s vulnerable citizens. Again, AstraZeneca has been a strong partner in our state for many years, and we are passionate about retaining its positive presence in the First State for years to come.
We understand that one of the primary motivations for Pfizer’s interest in acquiring AstraZeneca is the ability to establish Pfizer as a U.K.-domiciled company in order to reduce its U.S. tax liability. We fully recognize that our country’s outdated corporate tax system is in need of serious revision. Making America’s corporate income tax more internationally competitive, while reducing incentives to game the system, would encourage more companies to domicile in the United States because our markets are robust, access to capital and labor is plentiful, and our corporate governance model is transparent and effective. As we continue to tackle the issue of tax reform in Congress, you will find the Delaware delegation engaged in and committed to revising the code to help American companies grow and profit here in the United States.
While this acquisition may provide a financial incentive to Pfizer and its shareholders, we are concerned that U.S. jobs and innovation could be sacrificed in the process. Based on our examination of previous acquisitions, we are concerned to learn that Pfizer has a history of significantly reducing research and development investment following major acquisitions. Not only would this negatively impact jobs and research and development infrastructure in our state and across the country, but it could also harm the development of cutting-edge medications that help save lives and improve the quality of life for millions here in the United States and around the world.
Given these questions and concerns, we need to better understand how you and your company would maintain and improve upon the research and development infrastructure and employment presence in Delaware if Pfizer were to acquire AstraZeneca. Delaware may not be the largest state in the Union, but our federal, state, and local leadership are all deeply committed to helping businesses grow and thrive here. We stand behind the thousands of talented AstraZeneca employees who live and work here, and the future of this business in Delaware. We are united in our desire to see them both succeed.
We look forward to your response and we thank you for your thoughtful consideration of the issues we have raised.
With best personal regards,
Senator Tom Carper
Senator Chris Coons
John Carney, Member of Congress