Thursday, April 27, 2006

Open Letter to Stanford University

While trying to contact Pfizer's Chairman and CEO (Dr. Henry McKinnell) on the Philippines litigation, we realized he is a Stanford alumnus and member of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.

And not only that, he has been honored by the business school for his "leadership"

I am a proud Stanford alumna and I do not believe he is the kind of leader we want to honor or have serve on our Advisory Councils. For that reason, with a group of other Stanford students, alumni, staff and professors we are trying to start a public inquiry regarding his fitness to serve the Stanford University and hopefully induce a broader debate at Stanford on social corporate responsibility...

So far the following have signed:

Judit Rius, alumna, LL.M. 2006
Julia Salzman, graduate student, Department of Statistics
Holly Telerant, alumna, J.D. 2002
Regan Whitmer Johnson, student, Class of 2006
Rishi Madhok, student
Latha Palaniappan, student, School of Medicine
Charles G Bragg Jr, alumnus, B.A. 1967
Robert Casuga, staff, School of Medicine
Luciana Dias, alumna, SPILS 2005
Fred von Lohmann, alumnus, A.B.'90, J.D.'96
Lawrence Lessig, C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law
Shahid Buttar, alumnus, J.D. 2003
Daniel Rey-Losada, alumnus, EE 2003

If you are willing to sign this letter, please send a note to, by May 15, with the following information:

Name: ________________
Stanford status (student or alumni) ___________________
Contact information (for verification) ___________________

-----------the letter follows------------

May XX 2006

Open Letter to John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford University; to Robert L. Joss, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business; and to all the Members of the Stanford University Board of Trustees [1]

Dear President Hennessy, Dean Joss and Members of the Stanford Board of Trustees:

As students, alumni, professors and staff of Stanford University, we are writing to request a public inquiry to consider the appropriateness of the continued service of Dr. Henry A. McKinnell on the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.

As chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc, Dr. McKinnell is undoubtedly among the most successful graduates of Stanford Business School. But, in that capacity, he is also responsible for improperly using a legal process to discourage appropriate government actions and an appalling bullying of government officials in the Philippines.

Pfizer has sued both the government and two top drug regulators in their personal capacity for taking very modest steps to help the poor find less expensive sources of a Pfizer medicine -- (amlodipine besylate, an important blood pressure drug, which is marketed in the U.S. under the trade name Norvasc) -- after the patent on the drug expires.

It would be one thing for Pfizer to engage in lobbying activity or even litigation seeking to clarify its rights under Philippine Law. But to sue the top drug regulators in the Philippines in their personal capacities is an extraordinary act of intimidation. The chilling effect of this litigation is evident in the Philippines, as many government officials will now hesitate to take any measures contrary to Pfizer's interests.

We believe that Pfizer’s actions, for which Dr. McKinnell is responsible for his official capacity, belie values and motives that are in stark contrast with the lofty aspirations of Stanford University and its School of Business. The mission of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council [2] is "to provide external perspective and review as well as advocacy and support for the School's programs, strategic direction, and overall objectives". The School's mission [3] is "to create ideas that deepen and enhance the understanding of management, and with these ideas develop innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who change the world." The core values are also clear: "believing in the power of ideas and intellect; striving for excellence in all we do; acting with integrity; exhibiting compassion and respect for others; and taking ownership of one's actions".

Dr. McKinnell's actions, on behalf of his corporation, reflect poorly on Stanford and are grossly inconsistent with the school's mission. Their seeming purpose and effect is to emasculate and intimidate the poor and the powerless. Therefore, we believe that the University should undertake a public inquiry to consider whether these inconsistencies render Dr. McKinnell unfit to serve on the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.



[1] Members:
[2] Advisory Council Homepage. Available at:
[3] Stanford Graduate School of Business Mission. Available at:

For more information:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Follow up: Pfizer's Philippines litigation

In order to express concern on the Pfizer's lawsuit in the Philippines, I contacted Mr. McKinnell, the CEO of Pfizer, by telephone, fax and letter. Today, I still have not received any response.

The letter:

1621 Connecticut Ave., NW, suite 500
Washington, DC 20009 USA
Tel.: +1.202.332.2670 Fax: +1.202.332.2673

Mr. Henry A. McKinnell
CEO, Pfizer Inc.
235 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

April 3rd, 2006

Dear Mr. McKinnell:

As chairman of the board and the chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc., we are writing you to express our deep concern with the lawsuit that Pfizer has initiated in the Philippines against the government-owned pharmaceutical company (Philippine International Trading Corporation- PITC), the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (Bureau of Food and Drugs- BFAD), and two government officials, in their personal capacity (BFAD Director Leticia Barbara B. Gutierrez, and BFAD-LICD OIC Emilio L. Polig, Jr.).

Pfizer claims that the defendants have infringed on its patent for amlodipine besylate (commercialized in the U.S. under the trade name Norvasc® and in India as Amlogard®) by either importing samples of the same drug from India and submitting them to the Philippines drug regulatory authorities; or accepting the application.

Philippines government owned company (PITC) has repeatedly informed Pfizer that they do not intend to market the product until after the patent expires next year. The PITC is trying to use the broadly recognized “early working/bolar” patent liability exemption.

We have been informed that Pfizer’s intimidating tactics with the Philippines drug regulatory administration (BFAD) has already created a chilling effect. The result being that the BFAD is not even registering non-patented products if they would compete with Pfizer’s products.

This lawsuit has alerted many to the dramatic situation of amlodipine besylate’s patients in the Philippines due to Pfizer high prices. We enclose a blog entry we recently published with a more detailed analysis of the situation.

We believe Pfizer’s behavior in the Philippines is completely inappropriate, unethical and adversely affecting millions of people. At a time when the United States and the World corporations are facing important ethical challenges, we believe the unethical management of the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company should draw your immediate attention.

We urge you to take personal responsibility in this case, stop the litigation and reduce the prices of amlodipine besylate in the Philippines.


Judit Rius Sanjuan
Consumer Project on Technology