PFIZER INC. | Report on Public Health Costs at Pfizer Inc.

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Health, safety and well being
Company sector
Health Care
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Shareholders ask that the Board of Directors commission and publish a report on the public health costs created by the limited sharing of the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine technologies and any consequent reduced availability in poorer nations and the manner in which such costs may affect themarket returns available to its diversified shareholders
Supporting statement
A recent headline emphasizes the financial rewards accruing to the Company for being an early developer of a COVID-19 vaccine: “Pfizer Stock Leaps after Q3 Earnings Beat; Sees $36 Billion in COVID Vaccine Sales.”

But while the Company is boosting earnings with vaccine sales, many countries struggle to obtain vaccines for their most susceptible communities. The imbalance in COVID-19 vaccination between rich and poor countries is striking: As of early September 2021, more than 50 percent of U.S. and European Union populations were fully vaccinated, compared with just 3 percent of Africa’s population.

This vaccine inequality is caused in part by the enforcement of patents and limitations on technology
transfer designed to prevent competition. Civil society and government leaders—including U.S. President Biden—have called for waivers of intellectual property rights to vaccine technology. Human rights organization Oxfam has called for governments and corporations to suspend patent rules and openly share technology. Some argue that such moves would disincentivize investment and lead to low-quality vaccines, but others have exposed the weaknesses in these arguments. The Company has not been neutral in this debate; it supports a trade group that lobbies against patent waivers.

To the extent our Company is increasing its own financial returns by preventing vaccine production in poorer nations, its own increased profits are coming at a severe cost to the global economy, because failure to vaccinate the world’s vulnerable communities is inhibiting worldwide economic recovery and creating opportunities for more dangerous SARS-CoV-2 variants to develop.

This is a bad trade for most of the Company’s shareholders, who are diversified and thus rely on broad economic growth to achieve their financial objectives. A Company strategy that increases its own financial returns but threatens global GDP is counter to the best interests of most of its shareholders: the potential drag on GDP created by hoarding vaccine technology will directly reduce diversified portfolio
returns over the long term.

Despite this risk, the Company has not disclosed any analysis of the trade-offs between Company profit and global public health from the perspective of its largely diversified shareholders, whose investment
portfolios may be at grave risk from undue limitations on vaccine production.

The requested report will help shareholders determine whether current Company policies serve shareholders’ best interests

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
LocalTapiola Asset Management Ltd For A vote FOR this proposal is warranted for the following reasons:
- Additional disclosure would benefit shareholders by increasing transparency regarding the company's efforts to address the risks related the limited sharing of vaccine technology; and
- Disclosure of the requested information would serve to provide greater assurance to shareholders that the firm's
initiatives and practices sufficiently guard against potential financial, litigation and operational risks to the firm.
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Against