Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tax Scam Charity or Corporate Welfare ??: The Taskforce for Global Health is #3 on Forbes charity list (opps)

I was looking for a charity that helps people get jobs.  The only large charity in US who's mission is to help people find jobs is Goodwill Industries. So I made a donation.   I used the Forbes large US charity list to find Goodwill Industries.

Note: In general I believe charities are regressive: they steal tax money from the poor and give to rich charities like operas. 

I then proceeded to review the list a little closer. Goodwill Industries is on the list. #6. OK. Respectable. Then I looked the list over. I recognized almost every name as a well established charity except #3. What the heck is the The Taskforce on Global Health(TFGH) ? Never heard of them. And they are number three. Something is suspicious.

As a US Charity, they are ranked #3 at $1.7 Billion. And they are located in a medium sized house in Decatur, GA at 325 Swanton Way, Decatur, Georgia, close to Emory University. I have been to Decatur.  I have waited to transfer from the bus to Marta there. It is a surprising place to find a charity that gave away $1.7 billion dollars.

When you look at their operating budget, it's only about $30 million dollars. The Taskforce on Global Health receives 100% of it's donations as goods or so-called in-kind donations. The goods never pass though Decatur; other the title. The US pharm companies ship the goods directly from their warehouses to the over seas charities.

When you read about the charity(on Wikipedia and through google), it looks like some Emory University doctors/professors want to develop vaccines for unique/obscure diseases in developing countries. But the program has grown immensely since the start. It has far exceeds it original scope.  And it's seems to be driven by US pharmaceutical companies looking for a tax break.

In summary, what was original a good idea, getting drug companies to donate medicines for under treated diseases in developing countries has expanded into a tax write off or corporate subsidy for $1.7 billion dollars.

There are three other big problems that are immediately apparent

1) Do the donated medicines have actual value in developing countries.  Is a facial acne cream or and ED pill need by some fighting malaria ?

2) What basis are they using to record the donation and reduce their tax bill ?  US pharm prices are the highest in the world while prices overseas for the same drug are regulated.  Do the pharm companies receive the full US cost/selling price for medicines that are worth much less ?

3) Do the medicines have a limited life span ? Most medicines are donated toward the end of their expiration date.  Do they sit in charity warehouses until after they have expired ? Note: While it may be illegal, many medicine retain their efficacy long after expiration.


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