Big Pharma = Big Salaries

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No, these are not NHL hockey players’ salaries.  They’re last year’s annual incomes of the 17 highest paid pharmaceutical company CEOs. Please note that there are no women on this list. Figures include the full compensation package of stock options, annual incentives, performance-based grants (equity and cash), restricted stock grants, and other corporate perks.

As nice as these numbers look, Big Pharma über-salaries have largely escaped the scathing attacks that wealthy health insurance company execs have endured since the American health reform adventure began. Could this be because of the $200 million that the powerful Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America have donated to help President Obama’s overhaul of the U.S. health care system?  

1. Miles White – Abbott – $33.4 million   (five months after laying off thousands of employees in Ireland and California)

2. Fred Hassan – Schering-Plough – $30.1M

3. Bill Weldon – Johnson & Johnson – $25.1M

4. Bob Essner – Wyeth – $24.1M

5. Robert Parkinson – Baxter – $17.6M

6. Daniel Vasella – Novartis – $15.5M*

7. Richard Clark – Merck – $14.5M

8. Frank Baldino – Cephalon – $13.5M

9. Sidney Taurel – Eli Lilly – $13M

10. Jeff Kindler – Pfizer – $12.6M

11. Jim Cornelius – Bristol-Myers Squibb – $11.3

12. Franz Humer – Roche – $11.1M

13. Robert Coury – Mylan – $8.5M

14. Jean-Pierre Garnier – GlaxoSmithKline – $6M

15. Werner Wenning – Bayer – $4.77M

16. David Brennan – AstraZeneca – $4.3M

17. Gerard Le Fur – Sanofi-Aventis – $3.27M

Find out more.

* UPDATE February 22, 2011: Fierce Pharma Novartis investors are protesting former CEO Daniel Vasella‘s pay package. More than 38% of shareholders at the Swiss drugmaker’s annual meeting voted against Vasella’s latest compensation arrangement, which includes a $12.2 million one-time retirement payment that one activist shareholder called “scandalous.” Vasella, who gave up the CEO seat to Joe Jiminez last year and now serves as chairman, has come under fire before for a pay package that’s among Switzerland’s biggest. According to Swiss shareholder activist Ethos, Vasella earned about 25 million francs in 2010, compared with Novartis’ official report of 8 million francs.

Novartis defends Vasella’s pay–and Jiminez’s as well–by saying that it’s on par with other Big Pharma compensation packages. But while their paycheques might not stand out much in a pharma-exec ranking, they do stand out in Switzerland, where executive salaries tend to be much more modest, even at the largest companies.

2010 SALARY UPDATE:  New data is now in on the top 10 highest paid biotech and pharma CEOs of 2010.

3 thoughts on “Big Pharma = Big Salaries

  1. I don’t begrudge hard working people a big salary, but when it’s the people at the top of mega marketing agencies like Big Pharma, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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  2. These are huge salaries, but these are also companies whose shareholders expect huge profits, and if this is what they have to pay to attract the man (they are all men, notice?) who can deliver the goods, that’s what they’ll pay. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to Big Pharma profits, really.

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  3. I agree. Big responsibilities = big salaries. To be fair, why not include some comparative salaries here for high paid professional athletes, many of whom could barely string 10 words together in a sentence?

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