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health care

State subsidies to tax-haven pharmacies

Published onsdag 9 november 2011 kl 10.05
Until 2009 the Apoteket was the only pharmacy chain in Sweden. Photo: Jessica Gow/Scanpix

New tax laws are urgently needed, in order to stop the flow of Swedish state subsidies to tax havens abroad, Finance Minister Anders Berg told media on Wednesday.

His comments come after the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet revealed that several private pharmacies that get state subsidies are moving their taking out of Sweden to avoid tax. The end of the monopoly for the state-owned Apoteket chain two years ago has meant many private pharmacies in Sweden, often owned by risk capital companies.

Also the health care company Carema has come under fire, for advanced tax avoidance schemes amid allegations of poor standards of care at its old age homes.

Borg told reporters that the state puts in 3 billion US dollars to subsidise prescription medicines in this country, and on top of that, the health authorities spend money on services from the private risk capital companies. He said "It is deeply offensive that a company after that send their returns to tax havens or find ways of completely avoid taxation here".

Borg is not able to say when the tax laws can be changed to stop this from happening, but he told reporters "we will close this possibility" and "I think these companies should know that this is ways that will not work in the future".

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