Lawsuit claims Pfizer fellowship program is biased against whites, Asian-Americans

Lawsuit claims Pfizer fellowship program is biased against whites, Asian-Americans

Pfizer symbol is witnessed in this illustration taken, May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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NEW YORK, Sept 15 (Reuters) – A group of medical gurus that advocates versus “radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology” in health care sued Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) on Thursday, stating the drugmaker runs a fellowship that illegally excludes white and Asian-American applicants.

In a complaint submitted in Manhattan federal courtroom, the plaintiff Do No Damage termed Pfizer’s Breakthrough Fellowship Software “discriminatory on its confront” for the reason that only Blacks, Latinos and Indigenous Us residents can use.

It mentioned the application violates federal, New York state and New York Town civil rights rules, as nicely as a federal ban on racial discrimination by businesses that accept reimbursements from authorities healthcare courses.

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“Racial discrimination demeans us,” and Pfizer’s “open up exclusion of white and Asian-American candidates is unlawful,” the complaint claimed, citing opinions of two conservative Supreme Court docket justices, Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia.

The lawsuit seeks injunctions barring Pfizer from making race a factor in obtaining fellowships, and blocking it from filling the 2023 class less than recent eligibility principles. It also seeks $1 in nominal damages.

In a statement, Pfizer explained it had not reviewed the lawsuit, but had “every single self-assurance” that the fellowship system complied with all U.S. work rules.

“We will keep on to attempt to generate far more opportunity, together with via distinct courses intended to cast a vast web for talent,” it additional.

Do No Hurt had no quick additional comment. The Glen Allen, Virginia-based mostly group reported its customers include physicians, other health care specialists, healthcare pupils, individuals and policymakers.

Based in New York, Pfizer said the fellowship plan is portion of a 9-12 months determination to increase minority representation, and that the business aims to enroll 100 fellows by 2025.

Fellows receive two a long time of full-time work soon after graduating from college, fully-funded master’s levels, and employment at Pfizer following finishing the application.

In a assertion on Pfizer’s web site, Chief Executive Albert Bourla reported the plan can support “direct to parity at all concentrations to create a vivid tradition the place every colleague has the possibility to triumph.”

The situation is Do No Hurt v Pfizer Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-07908.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Enhancing by Rosalba O’Brien

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