You told drug giant Johnson & Johnson to pay its fair share of tax - We made sure they heard the message!

You helped pile on the pressure and Johnson & Johnson – the company behind products like Baby Shampoo and Neutrogena - has heard you. Thank you.

The company says it is committed to maintaining reasonable prices for its medicines and bearing its fair share of taxes. But in reality they dodge billions in taxes that could fund health care and schools.

That’s why the petition you signed, telling Johnson & Johnson to pay its fair share of taxes, stop rigging government rules and make medicines affordable, is so important. We delivered the petition, signed by over 170,000 people, inside their shareholder meeting on April 25 2019 in New Jersey, US.

We will continue to put pressure on Johnson & Johnson to improve its tax affairs and drug pricing. But without your help we couldn’t have achieved what we have.

We went face to face with drug giant Johnson & Johnson at its shareholder meeting on April 25 2019. We told bosses to factor public concerns over high drug prices into their executive pay packages and delivered 170,000 global petition signatures calling on them to pay their fair share of taxes and stop rigging the rules in their favor.

Just a few days before, we released analysis showing that Johnson & Johnson and three other US pharmaceutical giants had made an extra $7 billion in profits thanks to President Trump’s 2017 tax cut. That was on the heels of our Prescription for Poverty report last September that revealed Big Pharma was already dodging as much as $4 billion each year in taxes.

Prior to the meeting, the company’s lawyers filed a flurry of legal briefs to prevent our proposal from getting any sort of consideration by its shareholders. But we fought back and won the right for the shareholder vote to go ahead. Turns out Oxfam wasn’t the only one concerned about their practices. Our shareholder proposal on drug pricing risks won support from nearly a third of the company’s shareholders.

Our call for corporate leadership

The meeting was tightly scripted, with the CEO reading his remarks off a teleprompter in the back of the room. When it was our turn to present our resolution, a giant clock ticked down from two minutes—the maximum amount of time we were allowed to describe how Johnson & Johnson’s sky-high drug prices and artificially low tax payments were robbing countries of money that could pay for vaccines, schools, and nurses.

Live your values

Throughout the meeting, Johnson & Johnson’s company vision was everywhere. Written more than 75 years ago, it commits the company to “maintain reasonable prices” and to “bear its fair share of taxes.” Every single attendee received a booklet with it printed on the back cover; the words were projected on the wall; and a promotional video showcased it literally being etched in stone at the company’s headquarters.

But the company’s behaviour on drug prices and taxes does not match its promises and, thanks to tens of thousands of you who signed the petition, we told them how they must change.

Entry published on May 31, by Robbie Silverman, Advocacy Manager, Oxfam America and Chris Worrall, Campaign Project Manager Oxfam GB.

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