Irish taxes and American contraception


Tax Inversion, Hormonal Birth Control — it’s big business.

January 23, 2022: Thousands of people gather at the Lincoln Memorial to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates. (Shutterstock)

On July 11, a Paris-based company called HRA Pharma filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration to sell over-the-counter contraceptives in U.S. markets. The pharmaceutical company prides itself on being “the European leader in emergency hormonal contraception.”

HRA Pharma, which has been pimping birth control since 1996, recently came under new ownership. The company’s CEO David Wright announced that HRA had been bought out in cash by Michigan-based pharmaceutical company Perrigo for approximately $1.9 billion in May of this year.

The New York Times ran a piece in July that described Perrigo as “a multinational maker of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals based in Dublin.”

That’s right. Perrigo has its executive office in Allegan in Michigan and their legal headquarters in Dublin in Ireland. In 2013, Perrigo completed one of the biggest tax inversions in U.S. history. Perrigo Inc. was then called Perrigo Inc. and it bought Elan in Ireland. It moved its headquarters from Dublin to Perrigo Company PLC.

With Gaelic pride and a box full of Easy Buttons, Perrigo shipped its paperwork over to Ireland and took on the nation’s 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.

Perrigo didn’t just look at Dublin as his oyster. Four days before HRA Pharma’s FDA application went public, NYT reported that Ernst & Young consulted Perrigo to soothe their tax-induced indigestion by incorporating in Israel:

In 2005, tax advisers at EY devised a plan that would help Perrigo, then based in Allegan, Mich., avoid U.S. taxes on its popular anti-heartburn medication, omeprazole. Perrigo would have received its profits in America if it had purchased omeprazole directly from the manufacturer. They would have been subject to what at the time was the country’s 35 percent corporate income tax rate, among the world’s highest.

EY devised a solution. Perrigo established a subsidiary in Israel with no employees or offices to purchase the omeprazole. Perrigo received the pills in America from the shell company at a profit. Perrigo received the income from the pills in Israel, rather than the United States. This kept Perrigo out of reach for the I.R.S. The profits were also not subject to Israeli tax laws because they weren’t being taxed.

Some senators have been actively opposing tax inversions over the years. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced the Stop Corporate Inversions Act in 2014, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced it in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021.

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Durbin introduced this year’s version of the bill with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35). None of their offices responded to requests for comment from The American Conservative.

In 2014, Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called the practice an “abuse of our tax system.”

Preston Brashers is senior policy analyst at Heritage Foundation in tax policy. He stated that inversions lead to “fewer good jobs” in the United States.

Preston Brashers, senior policy analyst in tax policy at the Heritage Foundation, stated that inversions cause “fewer good jobs in the United States.”

The pill HRA plans to introduce to the market will be sold under the brand Opill. This is a progestin only pill (POP) that contains synthetic steroid estrogen. This is different from the combination oral contraceptives, which include both progestin and estrogen.

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Donna Harrison M.D. is the CEO of AAPLOG (American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynologists). She stated to The American Conservative that if HRA approves her application, there will be an increase in ectopic pregnancy rates because more women use them. Due to the increase in irregular bleeding and spotting, you’ll see an increase of healthcare usage for those who have the means. The interface between sexually active teens and their healthcare providers will likely decrease, which would be a bad idea for teenagers

The FDA label for Opill lists ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, bleeding pattern alterations, and liver disease as warnings for the medication and describes irregular menstrual patterns as “common” for women using the medication. Harrison explained that a patient might have abdominal pain and some irregular bleeding. Dr. Harrison described a scenario in which “[a patient] has some abnormal bleeding, and she is experiencing abdominal pain. If you wait, the ectopic pregnancy diagnosis will not be made. Then, when it ruptures, you’ll die .”


The doctor’s main concern is “appropriate patient Care, especially for higher-risk populations who require screening for STDs and who need informed consent. They also need to have someone to watch them for ectopic pregnancies.” Harrison said that “What we should do is make access easier to medical care.” “

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