Religious Investors Define Best Practice for Pharma
Companies Fighting HIV-TB-Malaria
Call on Big Pharma Directors to take the lead in fighting AIDS
NEW YORK CITY, NY///July 11, 2005///Religious investors today defined the best
practices for pharmaceutical companies responding to the global health crisis
in a new report, entitled Big Pharma & Small Patients: Recommendations
for Pharmaceutical Company Responses to the HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria
The release comes on the heels of an admission by the World Health Organization that the world will miss the goal of '3 x 5' - treating three million people with AIDS by the end of 2005 - and describes the role pharmaceutical companies must play in order to scale-up treatment services.
Published by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in the Corporate Examiner magazine, Big Pharma & Small Patients recommends practices to close the gap between the one million people currently on anti-retroviral therapy and the 44 million people - including 2.5 million children - who are living with HIV. Members of the Board of Directors of the major research-based pharmaceutical companies received the report today.
Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management, and Chair of the HIV/AIDS Caucus at ICCR, said "Failure to respond effectively to the global health crisis creates a wide variety of risks to shareholders. That is why we are calling for Board-level, strategic leadership. I recognize that some companies have taken some steps in the right direction. But a range of approaches is required, and no pharmaceutical company is taking advantage of all the policy options available to increase access to medicines."
The report identifies best practices in the areas of research, pediatric needs, accessibility, reporting to shareholders, philanthropy, and political engagement. It focuses particularly on the needs of HIV-positive children, who are both more difficult and more expensive to treat than their adult counterparts. Because of a lack of accessible diagnostic and treatment options, half of all children with AIDS die before they are two years old.
One recommendation is that "pharmaceutical companies alter the pricing of their pediatric formulations to ensure that the cost of treating a child never exceeds the cost of treating an adult with the same medicine." AIDS medicines for children can cost up to three times more then adult formulations, according international organizations such as UNICEF.
Daniel Rosan, the Program Director for Public Health at ICCR, said; "ICCR Members bring a unique expertise to the table, as both investors and faith-based organizations. They uniquely demonstrate how drug companies can fulfill their humanitarian obligations while upholding their fiduciary duty. It is my sincere hope Directors will use Big Pharma & Small Patients as a blueprint for action."
The ICCR HIV/AIDS Caucus represents a broad cross section of institutional investors. Roman Catholic religious orders, Protestant denominations, faith-based pension funds, and major health care providers are joining mutual funds, professional money managers, and organized labor in the effort. ICCR members boast a combined $110 billion in assets under investment. Many of the organizations have staff on the ground in developing countries fighting the HIV/AIDS-TB-Malaria Pandemics.
ICCR members are currently engaging Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY), GlaxosmithKline (NYSE: GSK), Merck (NYSE: MRK), Novartis (NYSE: NVS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and the biotechnology company Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) in discussions around their HIV/AIDS-TB-Malaria policies.
In 2005, investors voted on HIV/AIDS resolutions at Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and Gilead. Each resolution passed the 6% threshold required by the Securities and Exchange Commission for resubmission. Shareholders at Gilead gave the resolution 23.9%, the highest of any drug company.
Big Pharma & Small Patients: Recommendations for Pharmaceutical Company Responses to the HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria Pandemics is available here (pdf) for single, noncommercial use. Subscribe to the Corporate Examiner or bulk order the report here.
Contact: Daniel E. Rosan,Director for Public Health, ICCR, 212-870-2317 // drosan @ iccr.org