Oxfam America called on large pharmaceutical corporations to share the technology behind their COVID-19 vaccines so that everyone, everywhere has access to these life-saving shots.
In unprecedented shareholder resolutions filed today, Oxfam called on Pfizer and Moderna to study the feasibility of transferring vaccine technology and know-how so that production can urgently ramp up around the world. These proposals are part of a large coalitional effort led by investor network Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and filed alongside investor allies like Mercy Investments and Trinity Health, underscoring the deep concern many investors feel about the financial devastation that inequitable distribution will wreak.
“It’s clear that Pfizer and Moderna cannot supply enough vaccines to make sure everyone on the planet has access, so they must figure out a way to share the technology and know-how,” said Robbie Silverman, Oxfam America’s Senior Manager for Private Sector Engagement. “Pfizer’s and Moderna’s inability to produce enough vaccines threatens global public health and the world economy—as long-term investors, we urge these companies to take immediate action to save lives and end the pandemic once and for all.”
In a separate resolution filed with Johnson and Johnson, Oxfam seeks transparency on how the company determines pricing for its COVID vaccines in light of the billions of public funding from US taxpayers the company received. Oxfam filed a similar resolution with Johnson and Johnson that received 32% of the vote on last year’s proxy ballot.
“Almost two years into the pandemic and these corporations continue to prioritize short-term profit-making while ignoring long-term sustainability and reputational risks,” continued Meg Jones-Monteiro, Program Director for Health Equity at ICCR. “The vaccines are highly effective, but not to the millions who are unlikely to have access to them for not months but years. Now is the time for these corporations to share the technology that will save lives.”
Other investors also plan to file shareholder resolutions calling for greater accountability in the pharmaceutical sector. Mercy Investments has filed a resolution calling on Johnson and Johnson to conduct a racial justice audit of its policies, practices, and products, and other investors are intending to follow suit with a variety of proposals asking COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics manufacturers to ensure more equitable access.
Recent Oxfam and People’s Vaccine Alliance analyses put the spotlight on the profit- first practice of these corporations, despite the devastating global death toll, which recently reached five million people. Pfizer and Moderna have only delivered a fraction of the doses they have promised to vaccinate the world.
“Continued vaccine inequality will not only cause more deaths and suffering around the world, it will also devastate to our global economy, possibly to the tune of trillions of dollars,” concluded Silverman. “While a few are profiting handsomely, investors recognize the dangers of vaccine apartheid and are seeking to hold these companies accountable.”