Throughout the global push to produce COVID-19 vaccines, pharma companies have frequently come under fire for unequal access to their shots. Oxfam, in a bid to force better access, has scored a series of wins in its effort to exact pricing and intellectual property information from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna.
At J&J's upcoming annual meeting, shareholders will have a chance to vote on an Oxfam proposal to force the company to release its COVID-19 vaccine pricing strategy. Oxfam previously asked J&J to share the information considering the drugmaker received substantial funding assistance from the U.S. government while it was developing the shot. During the company's shareholder meeting last year, 32% of J&J's shareholders voted for a similar resolution, Oxfam notes.
Meanwhile, at Moderna and Pfizer, shareholders will vote on whether the companies should study the feasibility of sharing vaccine technology to help increase global production. This has been a hot issue in recent months as many of the world's mRNA shots have gone to developed countries, while low- and middle-income countries were forced to wait for donations.
After Oxfam filed the shareholder resolutions late last year, the companies asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow them to omit the proposals from their annual meeting materials.
On Thursday, Feb. 24, an Oxfam representative said "all three resolutions (J&J, Pfizer, and Moderna) survived SEC appeals and are moving forward." Earlier this week, Fierce Pharma reported that J&J and Moderna would face the shareholder votes.
In rejecting Moderna's request, SEC said the proposal "transcends ordinary business matters and does not seek to micromanage the company." As for J&J, the SEC disagreed with the drugmaker that its public disclosures "substantially implement the proposal."