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Investors raise concerns over drug firms' lobby group links

October 2012

Four major drugs companies have been challenged by an alliance of investors over their use of political funds in the US to undermine birth control services.

The four – Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer – all members of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), contributed $4.8m (£3.0m, 3.7m) to two NPOs that helped elect 23 legislators, all of whom subsequently voted to cut funding for birth control.

All the companies manufacture birth control products.

Investors, including Trillium Asset Management, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Domini Social Investments, Zevin Asset Management and First Affirmative Financial Network, said: “We have consistently raised concerns when trade associations take actions that are contrary to their members' interests.”

The investors asked the companies to ensure their boards of directors “assess the benefits and risks of political spending, including its indirect spending through trade associations.”




North America | Stakeholder involvement

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