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In his ongoing quest to probe pharmaceutical industry tax practices, the head of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is pressing Merck and Abbott Laboratories to provide detailed financial information that so far, the companies have refused to submit.

In letters sent on Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) noted that, since the 2017 passage of a tax law lowered tax rates for large pharmaceutical companies headquartered in the U.S., both Merck and Abbott paid substantially less than the 21% corporate tax rate. Merck paid 11% last year, while Abbott paid 13.9%. (Here’s the letter to Merck, and the letter to Abbott).


To understand how the companies paid those lower rates, Wyden earlier this year asked for information on overall taxes paid in recent years, taxes reported by foreign subsidiaries, taxes paid in other countries, profit margins, and tax forms filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, among other financial details.

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