GLOBAL – Lægernes Pensionskasse, the Danish industry-wide fund for doctors, is to reconsider its sale of a US pharmaceutical giant after Europe's largest pension fund forced the company to halt the delivery of drugs used during executions.
Commenting after the €281bn Dutch civil servant scheme ABP said Hospira would – following engagement by its asset manager APG – change its distribution system to ensure the drug, potassium chloride, would no longer be delivered to US prisons, Lægernes chief executive Niels Lihn Jørgensen said the news was "surprising".
The Danish fund sold its DKK48m (€6.4m) holding in Hospira in March after the company failed to respond to concerns over the use of the drug.
Jørgensen said: "Last year Hospira told our SRI consultant that the company had no plans of discontinuing the production of the medicine which American prisons use in capital punishment."
He added that the DKK65bn fund approached the company again in early 2013 about its concerns. "Hospira decided not to answer despite being repeatedly asked for a response."
However, the fund is now reconsidering its divestment.
"With the new information in hand," Jørgensen concluded, "we will reinvestigate the case and make a decision about any further actions based on the results of the investigation."
I an statement, ABP, which itself has a €4m stake in the company, stressed the importance of engagement with companies over simple black-listing.