Pharmaceuticals need to prepare to ensure 'BEPS' doesn’t slow down development of new drugs

Pharmaceuticals need to ensure 'BEPS' doesn’t slow down

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) plan to tackle 'Base erosion and profit shifting' (BEPS) could have an impact on pharmaceutical’s ability to produce new drugs, and companies need to start preparing for the change.

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The OECD’s plan will ensure that multi-nationals disclose profits, taxes and turnover in countries where they have economic activity. Chris Stirling, Global Head of Life Sciences for KPMG, comments: “In response to public concerns, the OECD wants to achieve greater transparency over multinational tax affairs and ensure that taxation aligns with where economic activity and value creation takes place. The OECD’s work represents a shift in the international tax landscape. Pharmaceuticals should engage with the changes and will need to embrace them for the future. 

“The change could however have an impact on the post-tax profitability of Pharmaceutical companies, which may affect their ability to invest in essential research and development.

“The other issue that can’t be ignored is the likelihood of disputes over where profit should be taxed. Businesses will have to agree if it’s the decision to fund a clinical trial that drives value, or, is it the local management of the clinical that drives the value? In order to effectively manage this risk, Pharmaceuticals will need to provide tax authorities with a clear understanding of what drives value across the portfolio of products.

“Pharmaceuticals should start to model the effect of these changes on their forecasts and future tax profile to quantify the impact and prioritise areas for focus and review.  If the sector’s main players want to gain greater certainty over their future tax liabilities and maintain a flow of funds for R&D, they need to reconsider their organisational, legal and funding structures. They will also need to quantify the value of intellectual property and intangible expenditure such as R&D and marketing.”




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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. 

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