As the COVID-19 pandemic circled the globe in 2020, pharmaceutical manufacturers worked to develop vaccines to stop the spread. The virus’s devastating physical and economic toll on communities, with a disproportionate impact on people of color, led the U.S. government to invest taxpayer money in the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine. Given this public investment in the vaccine, shareholders are engaging manufacturers to ensure equitable distribution and affordability.
Shareholders including Mercy Investment Services filed resolutions at Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer asking how the government funding they received will impact their pricing and distribution strategies. The first-year resolutions received substantial support at all three companies: 31.77 percent support at Johnson & Johnson, 32.96% percent support at Merck, and 29.9 percent support at Pfizer. Mercy Investment Services will bring forward these favorable votes as they continue to push companies to focus on equity and accessibility.