Barceloneta is a coastal town of just over 20,000 residents. Thirty years ago it was best known for the juiciness of its pineapples – but for eight years, from 1998 until 2006 – it was known as Ciudad Viagra.
During those eight years, just one factory on the edge of this small town, produced all of the Viagra consumed in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
The jobs at the factory paid well, starting at $15 per hour, and the drug’s popularity pumped $60 million annually into the local economy.
This pump extended over the entire island.
Pfizer, Bristol Myers, Merck, Lilly, Abbot, Galaxo, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech…over a dozen pharmaceutical companies used the “IRS 936” tax abatement program to build tax-protected factories throughout Puerto Rico.
At its peak, the “936” companies in Puerto Rico produced 25% of the world’s pharmaceutical drugs, and 90% of the pharma consumed in the US.
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