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Pfizer halts Russian clinical trials, will donate profits from Russia business

Pfizer logo provided by Pfizer Media Relations on Jan. 7. 2021.
Pfizer Media Relations via AP

Pfizer on Monday said it will donate all the profits from its Russian subsidiary to programs that provide direct humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine. 

Medicines are excluded from the international sanctions placed on Russia for humanitarian reasons, and health companies have said they have an ethical duty to keep their supply chains open and continue supplying the Russian people with needed drugs and medical devices.

“A voluntary pause in the flow of our medicines to Russia would be in direct violation of our foundational principle of putting patients first,” Pfizer said. “Ending delivery of medicines, including cancer or cardiovascular therapies, would cause significant patient suffering and potential loss of life, particularly among children and elderly people.”

Pharmaceutical companies are facing increasing pressure to divest from doing business in Russia in protest of the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of businesses from automakers to fast food companies have announced they are stopping operations in Russia.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla last week on CBS’s “Face the Nation” said Russia accounts for only half a percent of the company’s total revenue. While Pfizer manufactures some treatments in Russia, it does not export them.

On Monday, the company said it would cease all planned investments with local suppliers planning to expand manufacturing capacity in the country.

Additionally, Pfizer said it would no longer initiate new clinical trials in Russia, and will stop recruiting new patients in its ongoing clinical trials there. But the company said it will continue providing medicines to the patients already enrolled in clinical trials.

In response to the announcement, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) called on other drugmakers to take a similar stance.

“The Russian people need these medicines. The Ukrainian people need so much more and I hope every penny earned in Russia by every drug company is used to help them,” Eshoo said.

Tags Anna Eshoo drug companies Pfizer Russia-Ukraine conflict

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