Don’t Let Walgreens Avoid U.S. Taxes


Target: Gregory D. Wasson, President and CEO of Walgreens

Goal: Stop Walgreens from moving headquarters overseas and avoiding U.S. taxes

Walgreens has proposed to move its headquarters to Switzerland, which would keep billions of dollars in taxes from returning to the U.S. Government. The majority of Walgreens’ sales occur in the U.S. and a significant portion of those sales come from federally funded programs. Walgreens’ proposed move to another country to reduce taxes will allow the company to reap all the benefits of U.S. patrons, but avoid paying the taxes that support the American people.

This switch in headquarters in order to reduce federal taxes is called “tax inversion” or “corporate inversion.” Unfortunately, it is a legal practice used by big businesses in order to increase their net profits by reducing their tax burden. Switzerland’s taxes are lower than the United States’, so Walgreens has planned to merge with a competitor there to keep more money in its pockets.

Walgreens earned $72 billion in sales from the United States market last year and $16.7 billion of those came from the federal government through programs like Medicare and Medicaid. That is almost 25% of profits coming directly from the government. By changing headquarters, Walgreens would avoid paying an estimated $4 billion over the next five years. That is enough money to provide Medicaid to 639,000 people, pay for one and a half years of prescriptions for all U.S. veterans, or pay for healthcare for 3.5 million children under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Walgreens is America’s largest pharmacy chain. It gains a significant income from U.S.-based stores and receives a large profit from federally funded programs. Walgreens currently has its headquarters in Illinois where it received $46 million in corporate tax incentives among other supports because of its presence in the community. By moving its headquarters overseas, Walgreens would reduce its taxes from 31% to 20%, taking a substantial amount of money out of the tax system and hurting the people of Illinois and the United States. Put pressure on Walgreens to stay in the United States and pay its fair share of taxes.


Dear Mr. Wasson,

Walgreens is the biggest pharmacy chain in the United States and gains significant profits from U.S. patrons and the U.S. government. Moving your headquarters overseas would greatly injure your consumer base by keeping a large amount of money from reentering the tax system, which pays for programs like Medicare and Medicaid. A change in headquarters means you will keep an estimated $4 billion over five years from supporting federal and local government initiatives that keep Americans happy and healthy.

While changing headquarters to Switzerland might mean a reduction in taxes for Walgreens, it means that American citizens will no longer find Walgreens at the corner of “Happy and Healthy.” Using the American people for the profit they generate while directly turning your back on them when it comes time to support the programs that pay for their healthcare shows where your interests lie. You happily accepted $46 million in tax incentives from Illinois alone, and now you will run out on them to pad your corporate wallet.

The proposed overseas move of your headquarters is an idea that only benefits your company in the short term. There have been proposals to dramatically alter or end the current corporate inversion policy under which you plan to change your headquarters. These changes include  increasing the taxes on international companies and therefore could put you in a worse position than you are in now. Don’t move overseas. Keep your headquarters in the United States; support your country and your patrons. Be “The Pharmacy America Trusts.”


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Brandner88 via Wikimedia Commons

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