California state senator Nell Soto (D-Pomona), the chair of the senate's public employees retirement system committee, last week introduced a bill that would require the state's public pension and retirement systems to put pressure as investors on pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of anti-HIV medications sold in developing countries. The measure, backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, would encourage the pension and retirement systems to introduce shareholder resolutions at pharmaceutical company meetings instructing the firms to develop and implement policies to provide affordable HIV treatments in poor nations.
"California's clout as a substantial institutional investor in many of the pharmaceutical companies that make lifesaving AIDS drugs puts the state in position to send a very strong message about corporate responsibility to the worldwide AIDS pandemic," said AHF president Michael Weinstein. "Senator Soto's resolution seeks to leverage California's position via shareholder resolutions to ensure that these drug companies truly make their lifesaving AIDS drugs both available and affordable in the developing world."
The bill is scheduled to be discussed next month by the public employees retirement system committee.