How investors can support affected pharmaceutical companies

What role can investors play?

Investors and financial institutions have played a crucial role in protecting pharmaceutical companies from the risks associated with involvement in executions.

In recent years, a number of investors have been instrumental in urging companies to act on this issue. In 2011, Unipension divested from Lundbeck because its pentobarbital was being used in US executions; a move that prompted the company to take strong and decisive action. The Danish Doctors Pension Fund was equally critical in convincing Hospira to change its position on the issue in 2013.

 Is divestment the only option?

Reprieve respects the decision of some institutional investors that they would prefer not to hold any shares in companies who do not restrict the sale of their products for use in executions.

Reprieve also recognises that there are a number of other ways concerned investors can proactively address this issue. Today, a growing number of investors on both sides of the Atlantic are engaging with the few remaining companies who do not have controls in place, encouraging them to implement watertight controls.

Investment and Pension Funds

In August of 2014 French bank BNP Paribas launched an initiative to build a formal coalition of investors willing to take action on this issue. Under the banner of the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI), BNP Paribas is encouraging all 1000+ signatories to the Principles to join with it in engaging the remaining affected pharmaceutical manufacturers. Investors seeking to join this initiative can review its initial call to action on the UNPRI website, or contact the team for more information via dan.dolan@reprieve.org.uk.