New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that in response to a Common Retirement Fund shareholder resolution, Akorn Pharmaceuticals is taking action to prevent its products from being used in lethal injection executions and is asking any states that might have its products on hand for such purposes to return them. The company detailed its new policy in a letter to DiNapoli’s office. As a result of Akorn’s actions the Fund will withdraw its shareholder resolution from consideration at the company’s annual meeting this spring. The Fund holds 302,684 shares of Akorn with an estimated value of $14.5 million.
“Botched executions are a nightmare that have led several states to review their policies and put the manufacturers of drugs used in executions in a harsh spotlight,”DiNapoli said. “Many drug companies have policies that ensure their products cannot be used in lethal injection executions, whereas others have lax controls. We commend Akorn for taking steps that go beyond our request to protect its investors against the financial and reputational damage that could come from being associated with such horrifying incidents.”
Public reports of lethal injections gone awry have increased scrutiny of pharmaceutical companies’control over the sale of their drugs for potential use in executions. DiNapoli has filed a similar shareholder request at Mylan Pharmaceuticals calling on the company to explain its policy regarding the use of its products in executions.
About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States with assets of $176.8 billion as of March 31, 2014. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The Fund has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation. Over the past 20 years, 82 percent of the cost of benefit payments has been funded by investment returns. The Fund’s fiscal year ends March 31, 2015.