Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla addresses a press conference after a visit to oversee production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at US pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s facility in Puurs, Belgium, April 23, 2021.

John Thys | Swimming pool | Reuters

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla received total compensation of $24.3 million for 2021, a 15% increase from the prior year as the company’s full-year profits more than doubled with the successful rollout of its Covid vaccine.

Bourla took home an $8 million reward on top of his $1.69 million salary. He also received stock and options totaling $13.2 million, as well as $1.38 million in other fees.

Bourla’s total shareholding, nearly 597,000 shares, is worth more than $32 million as of Thursday’s closing price of $54.24. He is also entitled to a gold parachute worth nearly $113 million on December 31, if the company is sold and he loses his job as a result.

Bourla also received more than $336,000 for home security and more than $60,000 for air travel. His total salary is 262 times the median pay for a regular employee at Pfizer.

Pfizer posted a profit of nearly $22 billion in 2021, double the number of the previous year when the company’s Covid vaccine became the most widely administered vaccine in the US and European Union. Sales of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine were $36.7 billion in 2021, accounting for approximately 45% of annual sales of $81.2 billion. Pfizer expects an additional $32 billion in vaccine sales this year.

The injection was developed with BioNTech, the German partner, who developed the technology underlying the vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech split vaccine profits equally.

Pfizer’s injection was the first Covid vaccine to receive emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in December, as well as the first to receive full approval from the FDA. The age of eligibility has been gradually lowered for anyone over the age of 5.

Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill, Paxlovid, is also expected to be a hit, with the company forecasting sales of at least $22 billion.

The vaccine maker’s windfall is controversial among activist groups, who are calling on the companies to share their intellectual property with developing countries to boost vaccination rates. Oxfam America, in a proposal for Pfizer’s annual meeting, has called on shareholders to support a feasibility study on the transfer of the underlying vaccine technology.

Pfizer’s board of directors has called on shareholders to vote against the proposal, saying that transferring the technology behind the shots requires highly skilled local partners who have the know-how to manufacture them. The company has pledged to provide 2 billion doses of vaccine to poorer countries by the end of 2022.

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