Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Caves and Pulls Heartland Institute Support
12/20/2012 7:32:47 AM
After months of pressure and criticism, Pfizer (PFE) has quietly withdrawn its support from the Heartland Institute, a highly controversial group that downplays global warming and believes anti-smoking campaigns are based on junk science. Negative publicity over contributions has already prompted Bayer, Amgen, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline to disassociate themselves from the non-profit. The move come several months after a few dozen socially-minded investors and related activists – including Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Walden Asset Management, Unitarian Universalist Association and AFSCME – wrote the Pfizer board to force a change and requested a comprehensive review to justify its financial support. “The decision was made this month as part of our year end review,” a Pfizer spokeswoman writes us. “The main reason was budgetary constraints. But, in addition, Heartland’s primary focus will no longer be on pharmaceutical policy issues.” There was no formal announcement of the decision, she adds. In 2010, the drugmaker contributed $130,000, according to a Heartland document and $65,000 last year. Meanwhile, Pfizer signaled plans to contribute another $45,000 this year and future donations for 2013 and beyond, according to Forecast the Facts, an advocacy group that has been pushing companies to cut their ties.