Since Russia’s war with Ukraine began, dozens of the world’s largest companies have announced that they are ceasing operations in the nation for the time being in order to show solidarity with Ukraine. But now one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer, has announced it will not follow suit. Instead, it will donate all Russian profits to Ukrainian relief efforts.
Unlike an iPhone from Apple, many of Pfizer’s products—mostly medicines—are literally life-saving to the Russians who rely on them. These include medicines used for cardiovascular conditions and cancer treatment. If Pfizer were to temporarily pull out of the Russian market as other Western companies have, thousands of Russian civilians, including children and the elderly, could lose access to the medicines they need, causing extreme suffering or even death. This is precisely why pharmaceuticals are usually exempt from any state sanctions imposed against another nation.
While Pfizer will continue to supply medicines to Russians for humanitarian reasons, the company will donate all profits from its Russian subsidiaries to Ukrainian relief efforts—a balancing act intended to stop needless suffering in Russia while alleviating the suffering going on in Ukraine. Pfizer also confirmed that it does not own or operate any Russian manufacturing facilities and it will halt planned investment in the country with Russian manufacturers.