A major pharmaceutical company has opted to sever ties with a libertarian think tank that provides arguments critical of global warming and the effects of tobacco smoking.
Pfizer Inc., a New York City-based business that boasts of being the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, decided to cut financial support from the Heartland Institute.
Sharon Castillo, spokeswoman for Pfizer, told The Christian Post that the decision was implemented earlier this month for multiple reasons.
"Heartland's CEO was notified of our decision on December 5th. The decision was made as part of our year-end review. The main reason was budgetary constraints," said Castillo.
"But, in addition, Heartland's primary focus will no longer be on pharmaceutical policy issues … As stipulated in a strict agreement, Pfizer's past funding of Heartland was provided solely for work on health policy issues, including vaccines, innovation, and patients' access to medicines."
Founded in Chicago in 1984, according to its website the Heartland Institute states that its goal is "to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems."
Heartland's main office in Chicago is directed by Joseph Bast and Herbert Walberg serves as chairman of the organization's board. It boasts of having 5,000 financial supporters, six newspapers, and over 200 academics and economists who serve as policy advisers.
Heartland has gained controversy over its position on global warming and smoking. The think tank believes that man-made climate change is not taking place and that the dangers of smoking while real are also exaggerated.
According to Forecast the Facts, an anti-Heartland organization, Pfizer is the twenty-first company to opt to cease sending funds to Heartland.
"We are pleased Pfizer recognized that support for Heartland is untenable for a company based on promoting health and science," said Brad John, Forecast the Facts campaign manager, in a statement. "Their decision means that there are no longer any pharmaceutical companies known to support the Heartland Institute."
Forecast the Facts and others have stated that Pfizer's decision to halt funding to Heartland came courtesy public outcry, especially from organizations like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Walden Asset Management, Unitarian Universalist Association and AFSCME.
Over the past three years, Pfizer's contributions had been on the decline. In 2010, the company donated $130,000 to Heartland; in 2011 it was $65,000. The final contribution, made for this year, came to $45,000. Heartland's annual budget is $6 million.
Heartland Institute of Chicago did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.