This Pharma CEO’s 2015 Pay Will Blow Your Mind

Pile of Money
Photograph by Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

Horizon Pharma (HZNP) CEO Tim Walbert had a pretty, pretty good 2015 when it comes to his pay package. The pharma chief nabbed a staggering $93 million-plus in total compensation last year, apparently blowing away the reported pay totals of any and all competing top execs in the industry.

The scope of Walbert’s pay is difficult to overstate. Much of it stems from the Horizon board’s decision to reward him nearly $90 million in stock options and restricted shares, as well as $2.2 million in bonuses on top of nearly $860,000 in base salary.

The CEOs of significantly larger biopharma firms such as Gilead (GILD), Allergan (AGN), and others typically haven’t seen their total pay top $10 million to $15 million in recent years. And to compare, Walbert’s total 2014 compensation was $8.97 million, meaning his 2015 haul is a more-than-10-fold improvement.

Horizon had net sales of $757 million last year, placing it well behind both large pharmas and smaller companies which focus on specialty drugs. Its top seller was the anti-inflammatory drug Duexis.

But the company is also facing some near-term hurdles. Last fall, pharmacy benefits giant Express Scripts (ESRX) nixed Horizon-allied specialty mail-order pharmacy Linden Care as part of a broader payer crackdown on such operations.

Arrangements between these pharmacies and drugmakers have boosted pharma’s bottom line but also attracted regulatory scrutiny. At the end of February, Horizon shares took a beating as the firm disclosed federal prosecutors in New York were scrutinizing aspects of its distribution network.

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