Racial Equity Audit

Resolution Text

RESOLVED that shareholders of Pfizer Inc. (“Pfizer”) urge the Board of Directors to oversee a third-party racial equity audit analyzing Pfizer’s impacts on nonwhite stakeholders and communities of color. Input from civil rights organizations, experts on race and healthcare outcomes, and employees should be considered in determining the specific matters to be analyzed. A report on the audit, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential and proprietary information, should be publicly disclosed on Pfizer’s website.


High-profile police killings of black people have galvanized the movement for racial justice. That movement, and the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, have focused public attention on systemic racism, racialized violence and inequities in employment, health care, and the criminal justice system.

Several aspects of Pfizer’s business and operations suggest that a racial equity audit would be useful. Pfizer’s 2020 EEO-1 data show that, of 112 senior executives, only three are Latinx and six are Black.1

Controversy over high drug prices has dogged drug makers, and Pfizer’s own analysis rates risks related to pricing and access as among the most important.2 Studies show that Black and Latinx patients are more likely to ration medication due to cost.3 Although Pfizer’s disclosure references improving access in “underserved communities” and “historically disregarded populations,”4 it does not analyze the impact of Pfizer’s business practices on nonwhite populations.5

Political spending and lobbying may have adverse racial impacts. In 2020, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry trade association to which Pfizer belongs, spent $25.9 million on lobbying, and Pfizer spent over $13 million.6 The industry opposes legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and to cap out-of-pocket costs,7 which may disproportionately affect nonwhite patients. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which Pfizer is a member, opposed legislation to strengthen voting rights and limit partisan gerrymandering8; gerrymandering is often used to limit the political power of nonwhite voters.9

In a June 2020 letter on efforts to address racism and equity concerns, CEO Albert Bourla trumpeted the fact that Pfizer’s Political Action Committee (“PAC”) had “officially revised [its] bylaws to ensure that PAC recipients consistently demonstrate behaviors that align with our Values.”10 Nonetheless, in the 2020 election cycle, Pfizer’s PAC donated $158,000 to Republican members of Congress who objected to certifying the 2020 election results,11 an action some viewed as “a direct attack on the voting rights of people of color.”12 Pfizer’s PAC contributed to co-sponsors of Georgia’s voting restrictions,13 as well as supporters of voting restrictions in other states,14 which have been assailed as disproportionately affecting nonwhite voters.15

Finally, an independent audit would provide objectivity, assurance and specialized expertise beyond what would be possible with an internal analysis.


1 https://careers.pfizer.com/sites/default/files/pfizer_2020_eeo1_consolidated_report.pdf
2 www.pfizer.co.jp/pfizer/company/documents/Pfizer_ESG_Report_2020.pdf, at 8.
3acrecampaigns.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/POISON-FINAL-DRAFT.pdf, at 7 & n. iv (citing studies).
4 www.pfizer.co.jp/pfizer/company/documents/Pfizer_ESG_Report_2020.pdf, at 19-21.
5 See www.pfizer.com/news/hot-topics/advancing_health_equity_social_justice_through_community_investment; www.pfizer.co.jp/pfizer/company/documents/Pfizer_ESG_Report_2020.pdf; www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/78003/000007800321000047/proxystatement.htm, at 103
6 www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2020&id=d000000504; www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2020&id=D000000138
7 https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/peddling-influence-d-c-cost-pharma-industry-a-record-92m-fir st-quarter
8 https://fortune.com/2021/04/14/chamber-commerce-voting-rights-senators/
9 See, e.g., https://www.propublica.org/article/partisan-gerrymandering-is-still-about-race; https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/534351-voting-rights-groups-see-gerrymandering-as-poten t-threat; https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1088&context=flro.
10 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/equity-action-albert-bourla/
11 https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2021/01/business/corporate-pac-suspensions/
12 See https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/15/us/politics/lankford-apology-election-biden.html; https://www.marketwatch.com/story/business-leaders-call-for-action-on-trump-after-mob-siege-at-capitol-11609976655
13 https://popular.info/p/georgia
14 https://www.citizen.org/article/corporate-sponsors-of-voter-suppression-state-lawmakers-50-million/ 15 https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-october-2021; https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2021/05/politics/black-voting-rights-suppression-timeline/

Lead Filer

Armando Pintado
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)