Update to Big Companies and ESCR

I’ve received requests for contact information for the companies listed in the WSJ article (see previous blog entry: Big Companies Pursue Research on Embryonic Stem Cells).  I also wanted to make sure to point out some additional information from the original (longer) version of this article.

For most pharmaceutical companies, particularly those based in the U.S., the debate over stem-cell research remains a strong deterrent. Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), based in Indianapolis, says it has adopted a policy that the cells "will be used only after a diligent and documented search for scientifically appropriate alternatives." Lilly doesn’t use embryonic stem cells currently. Baxter International says its policy rules out use of cells from embryos sacrificed expressly for research.

Others say the research is too speculative to interest them. Jean-Pierre Garnier, chief executive of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), said in an interview that his company doesn’t use embryonic stem cells because the research is too early-stage. However, a spokesman confirmed that researchers inside Glaxo have requested a review of company policy, citing recent scientific advances.

Some companies are closely guarding details of their involvement. After saying it had never used human embryonic stem cells, Merck & Co. (MRK) later confirmed an account by outside experts that the company had obtained the cells. Janet Skidmore, a Merck spokeswoman, says a supply of cells was purchased but later destroyed before being used.

Ms. Skidmore declined to say when the program was undertaken or why it was halted. Merck’s corporate policy currently bars its scientists from work with stem cells from human embryos.

I think it’s important 1) to realize that keeping the stigma against ESCR alive has been vital to keeping this research at bay; 2) that these companies that are staying aware from ESCR (for whatever reasons) are encouraged to keep from engaging in ESCR; and 3) to note that Merck is very clearly perched on the slippery-slope – they’ve already used aborted fetal tissue for vaccines, and now they are conflicted about starting up an ESCR program of their own.

Here is the info for contacting the investor relations departments for each of the companies mentioned that are doing (or are thinking of doing) research on embryonic stem cells:

To contact GE Shareholder Relations:
Email – pauline.berardi@corporate.ge.com
Mailing Address:
General Electric Shareholder Information
Attention:  William Cary, VP Corporate Investor Communications
3135 East Turnpike
Fairfield, CT  06828
Phone:  203 373-2475 or 203 373-2468


To contact Johnson & Johnson Shareholder Relations:
email forms: http://www.jnj.com/contact_us/contact_us_form.htm?catg=Investor+Information
             wweldon@jnj.com (may or may not work)
Mailing Address:
Johnson & Johnson
Attention:  William C. Weldon & Board of Directors
One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
Room WH2133
New Brunswick, NJ 08933
Phone:  1-800-950-5089 or (732) 524-0400


To contact Novartis Shareholder Relations:
Email – investor.relations@group.novartis.com
Mailing Address:
Novartis U.S.A
Investor Relations
608 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10020
Phone:  (877) 999-8850 or 212-307-1122
        or 212-830-2433 (office of Ronen Tamir, head of the North American office)

Novartis is also the holding company that owns Gerber, so also try them at:
Gerber Products Company
c/o Consumer Affairs
445 State Street
Fremont, MI 49413-0001
phone: 1-800-4-GERBER (1-800-443-7237)


To contact Invitrogen Shareholder Relations:
E-mail – ir@invitrogen.com
Mailing Address:
Invitrogen Corp
Attn: Adam S. Taich, VP, Investor Relations
1600 Faraday Avenue
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Phone: 760-603-7208 or (760) 603-7200


To contact Becton, Dickinson & Co Shareholder Relations:
Email form – http://www.bd.com/investors/request_info/contact.asp
Email address to the board: ethics_office@bd.com
Mailing Address:
Edward Ludwig, CEO
Becton, Dickinson & Co
One Becton Drive
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417
(also try Vincent Forlenza, Pres, BD Biosciences)
Henry P. Becton, Jr., BD Lead Director
P.O. Box 264
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417-0264
Phone: (201) 847-6800 or 1-800-821-5452 (ethics hotline) or 1-800-284-6845


To contact Merck Shareholder Relations:
E-mail – ir@invitrogen.com
Mailing Address:
Raymond V. Gilmartin & Board of Directors
Merck & Co Inc
One Merck Drive
P.O. Box 1150
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889
(also write to P. DePhillips and S.-H. L. Chiu – lead researchers)
Phone: (908) 423-1000

If anyone writes/emails/calls any of these companies, could you please send a copy or other note to me, as well as to cogforlife@aol.com – we are compiling lists of protest letters, so that the number of letters can be reported properly (we are not relying on the mass media to track this development).

As important as it is to contact these companies, it is even more important to pray for the souls of those engaged in this practice (be it researchers, board members, or the CEOs) so that they will see the light, repent of their behavior, and halt their actions.

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