Domestic & Global Health
Since 2007, Tri-State CRI members have taken the need for health care reform to the corporate arena. Long before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we successfully called on companies to adopt principles on health care reform and support access to quality health care that is
- affordable to individuals and families
- affordable and sustainable for society.
These principles have formed the heart of our shareholder engagements with pharmaceutical companies for many years. In our advocacy work with pharmaceutical companies, we encourage the development of a new, sustainable business model that would not be dependent on the high prices of new medicines and yearly high price increases of branded medicines already on the market. Believing that transparency can have an impact on restraining price increases (enabling more patients to have access to needed medicines), we call for greater disclosure of drug pricing policies and strategies.
2017-2018 Drug Pricing Engagement Strategy
An April 2017 report from Credit Suisse stated: “US drug price rises contributed 100% of [pharmaceutical] industry EPS [Earnings per Share] growth in 2016. Arguably, this is the most important issue for a Pharma investor today.” In an effort to find out how or whether executive compensation policies and practices are linked to the way companies price their medicines, faith-based shareholders filed proposals with 5 pharmaceutical companies that asked them to disclose the extent to which risks related to public concern over drug pricing strategies are integrated into incentive compensation policies, plans and programs for senior executives. The proposal was filed at the following companies: AbbVie; Amgen; Biogen; Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly.
Pfizer and Vertex received another proposal asking the companies to report on the business risks from rising pressure to contain drug price increases in the US. Pfizer was successful in its request to the Securities and Exchange Commission to omit the proposal from its proxy statement.
Investors for Opioid Accountability
ICCR members joined with a new coalition, Investors for Opioid Accountability, to file shareholder resolutions and engage in dialogues with opioid distributors and manufacturers on issues of board oversight of business risks related to opioids.
Opioid manufacturers and distributors have come under heightened legal and legislative scrutiny over whether they failed to adequately disclose the addictive potential of opioids or failed to report suspicious spikes in the sale or distribution of opioids to drug enforcement authorities as mandated under federal law.
Investors for Opioid Accountability, made up of 42 faith-based investors, state pension funds, union pension funds and socially responsible investment asset managers, promotes corporate transparency and fairness, responsible marketing, greater oversight of opioid distribution, and improved governance to better address the opioid crisis.
Also, investors in the manufacturers of drugs to treat opioid overdoses and addiction seek greater affordability of and access to these treatments. For example, the price of an injectable version of the generic naloxone, has increased 129% since 2012 (made by Pfizer’s subsidiary Hospira) and more than 500% since 2014 by the manufacturer Evzio.
Investors for Opioid Accountability are addressing the following companies:
- Opioid manufacturers: Depomed, Endo, J&J, Insys and Mallinckrodt. (J&J and Mallinckrodt have recently sold their opioid businesses)
- Treatment and addiction recover: Amphastar, Indivior, Mylan and Pfizer
- Drug distributors: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson
At the March 2, 2018 shareholder meeting of AmerisourceBergen, 62% of independent voters supported a proposal calling for an independent report on steps taken to manage risks related to the opioid crisis. Walgreens holds 26% percent of AmerisourceBergen; taking those shares into account, the proposals received a vote of 41%.
Many of our member organizations play a critical role in providing access to health care in vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world. A number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are tied to health and well-being, and corporations have a role to play in helping the world achieve these goals.
Access to essential medicines is a moral imperative and a human right. As shareholders in major pharmaceutical companies, we bring the realities of these communities into our shareholder dialogues, as we call for greater access and affordability to medicines to treat neglected tropical diseases, TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria – as well as chronic diseases that are affecting more and more people in the developing world. We urge companies to expand their research and development activities to develop life-saving treatments for neglected patients. We also are in dialogue with the major vaccine manufacturers to advocate that safe vaccines are made available and affordable in low and middle-income countries.
AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi are among the companies we engage on this critical issue.