We'd submit another bit of evidence: Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer has found his pay package in the spotlight. A recent special report by The Washington Post used Sharer as its prime example of a CEO with a whopping compensation plan at a time when regular workers' wages are stagnating -- and his own company's stock isn't performing up to par.
Big Pharma's top executives are familiar with those sorts of questions. Just consider Johnson & Johnson's Bill Weldon, Abbott Laboratories' Miles White, Schering-Plough's ex-chief Fred Hassan, even the comparatively lower-paid Novartis chairman and ex-CEO Daniel Vasella, whose compensation ranked him as the highest-paid company chief in Switzerland. They've seen their names and dollar signs in headlines plenty of times.
And then there's the less-attractive fact that Amgen is negotiating a marketing settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The company recently announced that it was setting aside $780 million for a potential resolution to long-running allegations that it improperly promoted its anemia drugs Epogen and Aranesp. That figure puts it right in the middle of Big Pharma peers AstraZeneca