If you think you are too small to make a difference,
Try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito.
- African proverb
The PharmaShares Concept
Solutions to global health problems require innovation and creativity.
A proposal to address the problem of access to essential medicines
is called PharmaShares. We are asking for the active participation
of all shareholders of pharmaceutical companies who want to take
a small but important step toward improving the health of people
in developing countries. The concept is simple and is based on a
mechanism that is familiar to all taxpayers.
What is the Basis for the Idea Behind PharmaShares?
Everyone in the US who has ever filed a Federal tax return has
seen the question at the top of the first page of the tax form posed
by the Presidential Election Campaign, asking, "Do you or your
spouse if filing a joint return, want $3 to go to this fund?"
The taxpayer can check a "Yes" or "No" box in
response to this question (see
If a taxpayer checks off the "Yes" box, three tax dollars
go into a fund administered by the Federal Election Commission.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory
agency that administers and enforces the federal campaign finance
law including the public financing of Presidential campaigns. In
1971, Congress established the income tax check off found on US
Federal tax returns to provide for the financing of Presidential
election campaigns and national party conventions. The FEC administers
the fund, provides advisory opinions, conducts outreach, and enforces
the law relating to Presidential campaigns.
How PharmaShares Works
We have developed a mechanism similar to this idea for shareholders
of pharmaceutical companies to address the problems caused by lack
of access to essential medicines. SHARED proposes to create an independent
agency with the sole mission of funding the provision of essential
drugs to developing countries. This newly established entity would
receive tax-deductible funds from the PharmaShares shareholders'
check off mechanism similar to the one used by the FEC.
The PharmaShares check off mechanism is designed so that when purchasing
pharmaceutical company stocks, shareholders are offered the option
to add a tax-deductible amount to the total transaction for contribution
to the PharmaShares fund. Upon sale of pharmaceutical shares, the
same tax-deductible option applies. The independent PharmaShares
entity collects and administers these tax-deductible funds to be
used solely to assist with the delivery of essential drugs to developing
countries. This type of mechanism allows direct participation by
shareholders of pharmaceutical companies and to give those shareholders
an opportunity to participate in improving global health.
The concept for PharmaShares was first developed in a paper written
by Elizabeth Ziemba, the President and Founder of SHARED. This paper
discusses issues relating to public-private partnerships, drug donation
programs, good corporate citizenship, "green marketing",
and socially responsible investing. The paper is available on our
website as a white paper in the Global Health section or simply
Current Status of PharmaShares
Before the PharmaShares program is launched, information is needed
from shareholders as to how they would like the program to be developed.
We are working on two approaches to conduct the research needed
before PharmaShares becomes a reality.
First, SHARED has developed a proposal for conducting research
in conjunction with a pharmaceutical company to test the idea and
gather shareholder perspectives about the proposed idea. The framework
for the research to be conducted has been developed by Stackpole
& Associates, a healthcare market research company. (click
here to read the proposal). The proposal has been submitted
to various pharmaceutical companies, soliciting their participation.
If you believe our research proposal is a worthwhile endeavor, please
contact the pharmaceutical companies in support of PharmaShares.
Contact information for the major pharmaceutical companies is provided
in our Donation
Contact us directly with your
comments and ideas concerning the PharmaShares concept. We welcome
your emails [click here to contact us] and will update the website
as this idea moves from the drawing board to the Board Room.
Please see the information on the right about taking