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Mylan Reportedly Paid Its Executives More Than Bigger Rivals

A two-pack of Mylan's EpiPen, used to counteract allergic reactions.Photograph by Lucas Trieb — AFP/Getty Images

Executives at Mylan, the pharmaceutical known for price hikes on its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment, are reportedly getting pay packages that exceed those of the top managers at nearly all of the company’s rivals.

Mylan paid its top five executives a combined $292.1 million over the five-year period that ended last December, according to analysis done by the Wall Street Journal. That figure outpaces compensation for the five highest-paid executives at eight different health care giants with larger market values than Mylan’s over the same period.

Among the companies that paid their top execs less than Mylan over the past five years are Johnson & Johnson (with a market value of $327 billion compared with Mylan’s $22 billion), Pfizer ($211 billion), Merck & Co ($174 billion), and Amgen ($128 billion), among others.

In a statement provided to Fortune, the company defended its executive compensation, saying that “effective management across our regions and portfolio has allowed us to consistently deliver strong performance for shareholders, year after year.” The company’s statement also notes that Mylan’s “compensation committee considers a variety of factors in setting compensation, including, among others: individual performance, responsibilities, and expected future performance; company performance; management structure; marketplace practices; internal equity considerations; and the executive’s unique experience, tenure, and leadership.”

The only company on the Journal‘s list with higher executive compensation than Mylan over the five-year period was Regeneron, a biotech firm with a successful eye drug used to treat blindness in the elderly. Regeneron’s stock price has quintupled over the past five years, even with a decline in the past year, and the company told the Journal that its industry-pacing executive pay is a reflection of that past stock performance. (Rengeron also made it on Fortune‘s ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2015.)

Mylan’s own stock is down roughly 24% so far this year, but it improved by more than 150% during the five-year period tracked by the Journal. Shares have been hit hard of late on account of backlash to the rising price for its EpiPen, a life-saving device used by millions of Americans.


Some analysts have suggested that Mylan’s extravagant EpiPen price hikes were a result of financial incentive plans previously approved by the company’s board that reward top executives for hitting aggressive per-share earnings targets by 2018. The Journal previously reported that the one-time financial award stipulated by Mylan’s board could be worth up to $82 million overall for the company’s top five executives, with analysts suggesting that the 2018 target would be difficult for Mylan to reach without increased revenue from the EpiPen (which accounts for roughly 10% of the company’s sales).

Earlier this week, Mylan agreed to turn over financial documents to Congressional lawmakers who are eager to take a close look at the company’s pricing practices. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform asked Mylan for documents detailing its pricing, including the decision to offer steep discounts to some customers, while various lawmakers have also called for the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into Mylan’s price hikes.