Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla made news last week when he went on the CBS news program Face the Nation and advocated for a fourth covid vaccine booster shot and a subsequent annual shot. Shortly after, Moderna came out and also pushed for emergency approval of a fourth jab for their vaccine. There is no question the two companies have profited greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic and the world has benefitted from vaccinations in the form of lower death rates and hospitalizations. Now Bourla’s 2021 compensation has been revealed, and both Pfizer and Bourla have greatly profited from the world pandemic.
A Substantial Bonus
In 2021, Bourla received $24.3 million in total compensation, a 15% increase from the year before. He holds 597,000 shares of the company that, last week, were worth about $32 million. If Bourla were to leave the company, he’s entitled to a $113 million “golden parachute.” In addition to receiving money for security and air travel, Bourla’s salary is 262 times higher than the average employee at Pfizer. Under Bourla’s stewardship, Pfizer’s profit in 2021 was almost $22 billion. Their vaccine was the most widely distributed shot in both Europe and the United States. The company got a jump because the Pfizer vaccine was the first to receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Bourla is a doctor of veterinary medicine and joined Pfizer in 1993 and later became the head of Animal Health in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. He then became the general manager of the company’s Established Products Business Unit, eventually working his way to become Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer in 2018. In 2020, the company appointed Bourla the executive chairman. He now plays two major roles in the company.
Innovation, Controversy, and Profit
Pfizer is also touting its oral covid treatment, Paxlovid, a pill to be taken after an individual contracts the virus. The drug company expects to make $22 billion just on the pill alone. But some activist groups are calling on the company to share its intellectual property with poor countries. The groups claim the pharmaceutical giant needs to share its knowledge to prevent the spread of the covid virus in developing nations. Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “COVID-19” ChannelNo spam – we promise
The CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel, Pfizer’s closest covid vaccine competitor, took home $18.2 million in compensation for 2021. His total earnings were about $6 million.
Bancel sold about 2.8 million shares of Moderna in 2020 for a personal profit of $208 million. The sale of the stock was done under a Securities and Exchange Commission rule known as 10b5-1, which is supposed to prevent insider trading, yet critics claim the rule is too lax. Moderna’s covid vaccine is the company’s only commercially available product. It appears these companies will mirror each other as long as the pandemic continues. After saying an additional dose wasn’t needed, Moderna reversed course on the heels of Pfizer’s recommendation. Studies have questioned whether or not another jab is needed but both companies will profit from the additional dose.
But there’s a Dark Side
Not discussed too much in the mainstream media is the way Pfizer has capitalized on the pandemic to enter into what appear to be adhesion contracts with whole nation-states. What or who empowered Pfizer to new levels of leverage? Was it fear of COVID-19? Possibly. What about the complete waiver of corporate liability? Perhaps this is a rational policy in the midst of a pandemic; otherwise, firms won’t take risks. Yet how long will they benefit from this essentially no-risk situation? Hundreds of thousands of adverse events have been reported, including over twelve-thousand deaths in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Of course, the government has been vocal that just because these incidents are logged in that system in association with the vaccine doesn’t mean there is a connection. But a large percentage of these incidents occur literally days after the first or second jab.
TrialSite’s libertarian leanings lead us to a conclusion that the market is merely rewarding Pfizer for its initial risks entering the COVID-19 vaccine market. But with billions in taxpayer procurements, socialization of research infrastructure (U.S. taxpayer-financed), a complete liability shield, and a product that wanes in effectiveness–not to mention the possibility of some evidence of regulatory capture during the pandemic–any notion of a free and open market seems quaint and naive compared to the times we currently find ourselves in.