News & Analysis

Woke battle could trash Big Pharma stock

Andrew Saks, Friday, 7 May 2021

Who is the most skilled at using high-circulation mainstream media to propagate perceived virtue?

Is it former members of the British Royal Family Harry and Meghan, or is it the large, multinational pharmaceutical companies?

Both entities have about as much in common as thermonuclear fission does with fish, however in these extremely unusual times when celebrity status and virtue signalling appear to be so high on the list of priorities of those with little else to rely on, the former Royals now seek to foist their ideology onto hot-stock giants Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

This particular battle of wokery came in the form of a simple letter to the CEOs of these respective companies, however it is a letter whose content, if given any time of day, could lead to a substantial collapse in the share prices of each company.

Harry and Meghan's quest for fame, which is coupled to an almost immeasurable desire to appear politically correct, overtly interested in world peace and other perceived fluffiness that could buy them the popularity that they now need to sustain an independent style of fame and fortune away from the coffers of the House of Windsor, has manifested itself this week in a plea to the senior executives of the three major pharmaceutical companies urging them to give 'equitable access' to all of their recent products.

In corporate speak, that means that they are asking these drugs giants to waive intellectual property rights on a global scale.

Surely such large corporations with highly skilled lawyers, accountants, patent attorneys and a faultless commercial culture which has to balance the responsibility of holding licenses to produce various medicines as well as keep tens of thousands of public shareholders happy would never bend to the whims of a celebrity start-up endeavor by two individuals with no credentials?

In a sensible world, that would be a given. However we do not live in such a sensible or predictable world at the moment, thus perhaps speculation holds more value than it ever did before.

Should the pharmaceutical firms ignore this clear attempt at appearing 'woke' by Harry and Meghan, any uncertainty before a decision is made could easily affect the prices of the stocks of all three companies, before returning to stability or even rising to higher levels than now if investors are reassured that the companies responsible for their dividends or higher profits from stock trading are looking after their interests and not bending to celebrity demands.

If the three companies cave in and allow Meghan and Harry to convince Pfizer and Moderna to follow AstraZeneca's lead and supply at least 100 million doses of their vaccinations at 'not-for-profit prices' this year as well as initiate a temporary suspension of intellectual property and extraordinary global public-private collaboration resulting in wider transfer of technology and know-how, prices of stock could be decimated.

A company which spent a fortune on development and production only to not be able to monetize its own product is a company with zero value.

Harry and Meghan's ambitious mission is simultaneous to that of left-wing US president Joe Biden who yesterday threw his support behind efforts to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 drugs.

 Additionally, the UK is under pressure to follow his lead and call for patents to be ditched so companies can make cheaper versions to send to very low-income countries, which have given just 0.4 per cent of the 1.2 billion vaccines administered globally. 

Market effects resulting from this have had minor effect so far, with Pfizer stock having climbed rather dramatically during the week, tailing off today and declining by a small 0.39 cents over yesterday's price, with Moderna following an almost identical chart pattern, rising at the beginning of the week and tailing off by 2.34 dollars today with the shapes of the two graphs looking almost identical throughout.

Should wokery prevail - and let us be fair, the big corporates have begun to embrace it in other sectors such as ESG products in banks and exchanges, and with celebrity pressure piling up in the media, the future of the values hang in the balance.

The difference is that the ESG products have intrinsic value and will be offered as proprietary assets or via centralized exchanges, with full patent and intellectual property rights in tact.

Who said a letter or some dialog between private members of the public with a platform can change anything? Ask GameStop investors about Reddit forums, and the reality will be as clear as day.

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