Pfizer to halt future investments in Russia

March 11, 2022

Pfizer is the latest company to announce it will steer clear of future involvement with Russia, following Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine. 

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, went live on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and announced that the pharma giant had no plans for future investment in Russia.

However, Pfizer is not pulling completely out of Russia, according to Bourla. When asked if Pfizer would divest, Bourla responded by noting that trade restrictions often exempt lifesaving drugs. As he said, “How can you say I'm not going to send the cancer medicines to Russians because of what they did?” 

Russia hasn’t exactly been a moneymaker for Pfizer which, according to Bourla, contributes less than half a percent to the company’s total revenue. Pfizer has very few existing investments in Russia, he added. Bourla wasn’t concerned about potential impacts on the supply chain either — the company has little business in Russia, aside from medicines it makes in-house that are not exported.

Earlier this month, Pfizer pledged to donate $1 million in humanitarian grants to the American Red Cross, International Medical Corps and International Rescue Committee through its charity arm, The Pfizer Foundation.

Other pharma titans like Roche Holding and Sanofi are taking action as well. Roche is donating 150,000 packages of a critical antibiotic, Rocephin, to Ukraine, the company announced.

Sanofi has donated $5.5 million to the Red Cross for Ukraine and neighboring countries as well as to the U.N.’s refugee agency. The french drugmaker will accelerate donations of essential medicines and vaccines to patients in Ukraine and to Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries, it said.

Some pharma companies are completely cutting ties with Russia. A recently published letter, that now has over 860 signatures, condemned President Vladimir Putin's “unprovoked war against Ukraine” and marked the invasion as cause for complete and immediate “economic disengagement.”