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:


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