Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has changed the application requirements for one of its fellowships after a nonprofit group’s lawsuit, which faulted the program’s “blatant racial discrimination” against white and Asian American applicants.
“Do No Harm is pleased that Pfizer recognizes its blatant racial discrimination is unlawful and immoral,” Do No Harm board Chairman Dr. Stanley Goldfarb said in a statement. “It is important to recognize that this significant change was made only after Do No Harm’s lawsuit, and only because Pfizer knows its fellowship is in jeopardy on appeal.”
The “Breakthrough Fellowship Program” restricted applications to “Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American” students. Do No Harm, a medical watchdog group that says it seeks to “protect health care from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology,” filed a lawsuit in September claiming the fellowship discriminates against qualified white and Asian applicants.
The pharmaceutical giant violated Title VI of the 1965 Civil Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination in any program receiving federal assistance, according to the lawsuit. Pfizer participates in Medicaid, Medicare, and programs funded by the National Institutes of Health.
In December, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying Do No Harm did not have standing to bring the suit. Do No Harm sued on behalf of two of its members, who the judge ruled did not actually suffer because the group failed to prove the two plaintiffs met the fellowship’s academic and leadership qualifications.
The nonprofit filed an appeal, and Pfizer has since quietly changed the requirements.
“You are eligible to apply for the Breakthrough Fellowship Program, regardless of whether you are of Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic, or Native American descent,” the application form now states.
The prestigious nine-year fellowship offers college students numerous internships, a fully funded master’s degree program, and several years of employment at Pfizer.
When Do No Harm filed the lawsuit, the fellowship’s website said the program “works to advance students and early-career colleagues of Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native American descent with a goal of developing 100 fellows by 2025.”
A Pfizer spokesperson said the fellowship maintains its commitment to diversity.
“We remain committed to the goals of the Breakthrough Fellowship Program, which is designed to cultivate a pipeline of diverse talent at Pfizer,” the spokesperson told The Daily Signal. “We believe that the support of a broad coalition committed to [diversity, equity, and inclusion] strengthens our ability to meet these goals.”
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The post Pfizer Quietly Alters Racially Discriminatory Scholarship Eligibility After Lawsuit appeared first on The Daily Signal.
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