TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 7

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16. Primero is the parent company of an MNE group engaged in the pharmaceutical business and does business in country M. Primero develops patents and other intangibles relating to Product X and registers those patents in countries around the world.
17. Primero retains its wholly owned country N subsidiary, Company S, to distribute Product X throughout Europe and the Middle East on a limited risk basis. The distribution agreement provides that Primero, and not Company S, is to bear product recall and product liability risk, and provides further that Primero will be entitled to all profit or loss from selling Product X in the territory after providing Company S with the agreed level of compensation for its distribution functions. Operating under the contract, Company S purchases Product X from Primero and resells Product X to independent customers in countries throughout its geographical area of operation. In performing its distribution functions, Company S follows all applicable regulatory requirements.
18. In the first three years of operations, Company S earns returns from its distribution functions that are consistent with its limited risk characterisation and the terms of the distribution contract. Its returns reflect the fact that Primero, and not Company S, is entitled to retain income derived from exploitation of the intangibles with respect to Product X. After three years of operation, it becomes apparent that Product X causes serious side effects in a significant percentage of those patients that use the product and it becomes necessary to recall the product and remove it from the market. Company S incurs substantial costs in connection with the recall. Primero does not reimburse Company S for these recall related costs or for the resulting product liability claims.
19. Under these circumstances, there is an inconsistency between Primero’s asserted entitlement to returns derived from exploiting the Product X intangibles and its failure to bear the costs associated with the risks supporting that assertion. A transfer pricing adjustment would be appropriate to remedy the inconsistency. In determining the appropriate adjustment, it would be necessary to determine the true transaction between the parties by applying the provisions of Section D. 1 of Chapter I. In doing so, it would be appropriate to consider the risks assumed by each of the parties on the basis of the course of conduct followed by the parties over the term of the agreement, the control over risk exercised by Primero and Company S, and other relevant facts. If it is determined that the true nature of the relationship between the parties is that of a limited risk distribution arrangement, then the most appropriate adjustment would likely take the form of an allocation of the recall and product liability related costs from Company S to Primero. Alternatively, although unlikely, if it is determined on the basis of all the relevant facts that the true nature of the relationship between the parties includes the exercising control over product liability and recall risk by Company S, and if an arm’s length price can be identified on the basis of the comparability analysis, an increase in the distribution margins of Company S for all years might be made to reflect the true risk allocation between the parties.


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