It’s that time of year again when Big Pharma companies publicly release the total compensation for their CEOs and top executives from the year before.

Over the coming weeks, publicly-traded pharma and biotech companies will outline how much their leadership teams received in base pay and salaries during 2023. 

The issue of executive pay is one that is closely watched — and occasionally criticized — across the industry in light of debates surrounding income inequality and the ratio of CEO salaries to that of median employees.

Check out the list below of total executive compensation for pharma companies, which will be updated throughout the spring.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Reshma Kewalramani received $20.6 million in total compensation in 2023, up from $15.8 million in 2022.

Kewalramani joined the vaunted $20 million CEO pay club thanks to a $1.5 million salary, $15 million in stock awards, just over $4 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $42,547 in all other compensation.

The rest of Vertex’ C-suite enjoyed multi-million dollar paydays last year as well.

CFO Charles Wagner, Jr. brought home $7.3 million, up from $5.8 million; chief scientific officer David Altshuler received $6.5 million, up slightly from 2022; chief operating officer Stuart Arbuckle took in around $9 million, down from the $15 million he received in 2022; and executive chairman Jeffrey Leiden received $6.6 million, down from $8.6 million.


Merck CEO Robert M. Davis took home $20.3 million in 2023, up 9% year-over-year.

Davis’ pay has steadily increased over the years, rising from $13.7 million in 2021 to $18.6 million in 2022.

During that period, Merck has made progress on a number of clinical and operational goals. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Merck beat expectations with $15.7 billion in quarterly sales, up 9% year-over-year, as well as a non-GAAP EPS of $2.07, up 48% over the same period. 

Merck’s net income also soared 69% to $4.7 billion as perennial performers like Keytruda and Gardasil grew by double digits.

Elsewhere in the C-suite, CFO Caroline Litchfield received just over $8.3 million, up from nearly $6 million; Sanat Chattopadhyay, EVP and president of Merck’s manufacturing division received $6.2 million; Richard R. DeLuca, Jr., EVP and president of Merck Animal Health earned $6.1 million, up from $5.6 million and Dean Li, MD, PhD, EVP and president of Merck Research Laboratories saw his pay spike from $7.7 million to $9.7 million.


All good things must come to an end, including Biogen CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher’s sizable pay day from when he was hired.

After receiving $30.5 million from the biotech in 2022, Viehbacher received $4.1 million in 2023. This was primarily due to the absence of stock and option awards.

Viehbacher’s first year was most notable for recovering from the Aduhelm debacle with the FDA approval of Leqembi, an Alzheimer’s treatment developed jointly with Eisai, in early July.

In its most recent earnings report, the drug achieved global in-marketing sales of $19 million, well outpacing the $7 million of sales in Q4 2023. Biogen said a “significant increase” in new patient starts last month contributed more than 20% of patients now on Leqembi.

The pay of the company’s leadership team held mostly steady, with CFO Michael McDonnell taking in $7.1 million; chief legal officer Susan Alexander receiving $6.7 million and head of pharmaceutical operations and technology Nicole Murphy receiving $5.7 million. 

Additionally, head of global product strategy and commercialization Rachid Izzar earned $5.4 million.

Novo Nordisk

One of the busiest men in the industry, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, received 68.2 million Danish kroner (DKK) – or $9.9 million – in 2023.

This pay increase coincided with the continued dominance of GLP-1 drugs Wegovy and Ozempic, which power Novo’s bottom line.

In its latest earnings report, the Danish drugmaker reported 65.3 billion DKK in quarterly sales, making a 24% increase at constant exchange rates (CER). 

The company’s operating profit rose 30% at CER to 31.8 billion DKK, boosted by a 34% increase in sales in North America and 11% internationally.

Diabetes and obesity care sales rose 27% at CER to 61 billion DKK, with GLP-1 diabetes products contributing 32% sales growth. Additionally, Novo’s rare disease sales declined 3% at CER over the same period. 


BioNTech CEO Professor Ugur Sahin, MD received €2.2 million in total compensation last year, up from the €1.2 million he received in 2022.

For non-performance related compensation, he received €706,000 along with €1.5 million in performance-related compensation.

This comes as the German drugmaker recorded a net loss of €315.1 million in Q1 while its total revenue dropped from €1.2 billion this time last year to €187.6 million.

Still, despite the continued hits to the bottom line, BioNTech reiterated its full year outlook of total revenue between €2.5 billion and €3.1 billion and said it expects most of its revenue to come in near the end of the year.


Amgen CEO Robert Bradway received $22.6 million in total compensation in 2023, up slightly from the $21.4 million he took home in 2022

Based on a recent company financial filing, Bradway received a base salary of $1.78 million, stock awards of $11.1 million, $4.7 million in option awards, $4.7 million in his non-equity incentive plan and $680,456 in all other compensation.

Having guided the pharma giant for more than a decade, Bradway’s leadership contributed to a solid 2023 for Amgen. According to the company’s latest earnings report released in February,  total revenues increased 7% to $28.2 billion, with product sales growth up 15%, while its EPS inched up 3% to $12.49. 

Additionally, full-year net income rose to $6.7 billion and Amgen projected total revenues between $32.4 billion to $33.8 billion for the full year, with an EPS in the range of $8.42 to $9.87.

He also led Amgen through one of its biggest acquisitions last year when it closed a nearly $28 billion deal for Horizon Therapeutics.

Looking to a post-merger future, Amgen is readying its rare disease pipeline for growth opportunities, largely thanks to Horizon’s Tepezza for thyroid eye disease (TED), Krystexxa for uncontrolled gout as well as Uplizna, a biologic for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. 

These drugs bolsters Amgen’s presence in rare disease as well as its three other key pillars: general medicine, oncology and inflammation.

Elsewhere in the C-suite, Amgen executives saw pay increases across the board.

EVP of global commercial operations Murdo Gordon made $8.2 million, up from $7.7 million; EVP and chief technology officer David M. Reese made $7.9 million, up from $7.3 million; EVP and CFO Peter H. Griffith $7.5 million, up from just over $7 million; and EVP of operations Esteban Santos raked in $7.2 million, up from $6.7 million


In his final full year at the helm of AbbVie, CEO Richard Gonzalez received $25.7 million in total compensation.

According to a recent financial report released by the pharma giant, Gonzalez received a base salary of $1.7 million, $13.7 million in stock awards, $3.4 million in option awards, $3.5 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation, $1.3 million in pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation earnings and $1.9 million all other compensation.

Gonzalez has routinely ranked as among the top earners in the biopharma industry, taking home $26.2 million in 2022

This has been due in part to AbbVie’s exceptional performance in the market, rising to become one of the industry’s lead players. AbbVie is also forecast to become the biggest pharma company by 2028.

In the company’s latest earnings report, worldwide net revenues decreased 5.4% to $14.3 billion and AbbVie was hampered by a 12.3% decrease in immunology revenues as Humira biosimilar competition increased.

Still, the company has remained active on the dealmaking front, acquiring Cerevel, a biotech focused on developing treatments for central nervous system disorders, for $8.7 billion as well as snapping up ImmunoGen, a clinical-stage biotech that manufactures antibody-drug conjugates, for $10.1 billion.

Last month, the longtime AbbVie leader announced that he would retire following a more than three-decade career. Gonzalez will be succeeded by president and chief operating officer Robert Michael.

Michael received $14.4 million last year, up from the $9.7 million he took home in 2022.

Additionally, EVP, CFO Scott Reents earned $10.1 million, nearly doubling his 2022 compensation, while EVP, chief commercial officer Jeffrey Stewart saw his compensation rise to $15.3 million, and EVP, chief operations officer Azita Saleki-Gerhardt earned $9.2 million.

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks received $26.5 million in total compensation last year, up from $21.3 million in 2022.

Broken down by source, Ricks took home a base salary of $1.6 million, $18.8 million in stock awards, $4.4 million in the company’s non-equity incentive plan compensation, $1.4 million in a change of pension value and $263,000 in all other compensation.

Ricks has led Lilly through a remarkably profitable period over the past year, boosted by the performance of its GLP-1 drugs Mounjaro and Zepbound. 

According to its latest earnings report, Lilly recorded $34.1 billion in revenue in 2023, up 20% compared to 2022. During the most recent quarter, Mounjaro’s revenue topped $2.2 billion, up from $279 million in Q4 2022, while Zepbound generated nearly $176 million in its first quarter on the market. 

Given this strong performance, Lilly increased its full-year guidance with revenue in the range of $40.4 billion to $41.6 billion, an EPS in the range of $11.80 to $12.30 as well as non-GAAP EPS in the range of $12.20 to $12.70.

The company also just selected Amazon as its third-party dispensing provider to make home deliveries of select diabetes, obesity and migraine drugs through its telehealth offering LillyDirect. 

Lilly’s second-highest paid executive last year was Daniel M. Skovronsky, MD, PhD, the company’s EVP, chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories and Lilly Immunology. Skovronsky took home $11.8 million, up from $8.4 million in 2022.

Of note, Skovronsky signed a $5 million non-competition agreement with the drugmaker in March 2023. Skovronsky has been with Lilly since 2010 when the company acquired Avid Pharmaceuticals, where he had been CEO since its founding in 2004.

As for the rest of the C-suite, EVP and CFO Anat Ashkenazi earned $7.5 million, general counsel and secretary Anat Hakim received just over $7 million and EVP and president of Loxo@Lilly Jake Van Naarden brought home $4.8 million.

Bristol Myers Squibb

In his final year at the helm of Bristol Myers Squibb, Giovanni Caforio, MD earned $19.7 million in total compensation.

He received a base salary of $1.7 million, $14.4 million in stock awards, $2.7 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $734,000 in all other compensation.

Caforio left BMS in November after 23 years at the company and was succeeded by Christopher Boener, who previously served as the drugmaker’s EVP and chief commercialization officer. On April 1, Boener will also succeed Caforio as executive chair of the board of directors.

Since his elevation in November, Boener’s compensation has included an increased salary of $1.5 million, an annual target bonus opportunity of 150% of base salary and an annual total target cash compensation of $3.75 million.

In terms of long-term incentives, Boener received $4.6 million in awards related to his work as CCO in March 2023. During the fall, he received a long-term incentive award totaling $1.6 million. For the year as a whole, Boener received $8.4 million in total compensation.

Meanwhile, Caforio received his annual base salary of $1.77 million for his work as executive chair in addition to his annual target bonus opportunity of 150% of his base salary. He did not receive any additional long-term incentive awards during this period.

Elsewhere in the company’s C-suite, EVP and CFO David Elkins received $7.1 million in total compensation; Samit Hirawat, MD, EVP, chief medical officer and head of development took home $6.2 million in his first year; Sandra Leung, EVP and general counsel received $5.9 million and Elizabeth Mily, EVP of strategy and business development earned $4.3 million. 


Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla’s pay fell 35% to $21.6 million in 2023, according to a financial statement released by the pharma giant.

Bourla received a salary of $1.8 million and $18 million in annual LTI awards in addition to a change in pension value and all other compensation.

As for the company’s C-suite, chief scientific officer and president of Pfizer research and development Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD received $8.8 million in total compensation while general counsel and EVP Doug Lankler pulled in $5.5 million, chief U.S. commercial officer and EVP Aamir Malik notched $5.4 million and CFO Dave Denton earned $5.2 million.

As for two executives who left during 2023, Angela Hwang, former chief commercial officer and president of GBB, received $6.6 million, while William Pao, former chief development officer received $6.3 million. Noted in the company’s proxy is that the committee did not assess their performance

Pfizer had a rocky 2023 as the COVID-19 pandemic transitioned from its emergency phase, causing a decline in demand for vaccines and antivirals.

For the full-year, Pfizer’s revenues fell 42% to $58.4 billion and its net income dropped 93% to $2.1 billion. Excluding contributions from its COVID products Comirnaty and Paxlovid, revenues grew 7% operationally.

Also, the drugmaker reported an adjusted diluted EPS of $0.10, which represented a 91% year-over-year decline but exceeded Wall Street analyst expectations for a loss.

The company also closed its $43 billion acquisition of cancer-focused biotech Seagen and pivoted its focus to oncology.

That was best exemplified by its Super Bowl ad which kicked off its Here’s to Science national ad campaign. Pfizer provided additional details on its plans for its burgeoning oncology division a few weeks later.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato made $28.4 million in 2023, well above the $13.1 million he brought home in 2022.

The pharma giant unveiled Duato’s pay as part of its annual report released Wednesday. Duato made $21.6 million in total direct compensation, $6.2 million in change in pension and $1 million in other items. He also lost $400,000 in LTI timing and accounting during the year.

J&J fared well in its second year under Duato’s leadership, with sales growing 6.5% to $85.2 billion. Despite its full-year earnings per share (EPS) dropping 15.3% due to a special one-time charge in Q1, the company reaffirmed its financial guidance of sales growth between 5% to 6%.

J&J also recently announced that it reached a tentative agreement with 42 states and Washington, D.C. to resolve investigations into whether the company misled consumers about the safety of its talc-based products. 

In his first year at J&J, John Reed, EVP of innovative medicine as well as research and development made $20.6 million. Reed decamped from serving as the head of R&D of Sanofi to join J&J in February 2023.

Elsewhere across the company’s C-suite, EVP and CFO Joseph Wolk brought home $13.9 million, exceeding the $8.8 million he made in 2022, while EVP and worldwide chairman of innovative medicine Jennifer Taubert received $10.9 million, up from $8.7 million a year prior. 

Additionally, EVP and worldwide chairman of medtech Ashley McEvoy made $9.4 million, up from $7.3 million in 2022, while EVP and chief human resources officer Peter Fasolo made $7.5 million during his first year at the company.


Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel brought home just over $17 million in total compensation last year, according to a company financial report this week.

This number is down from the $19.4 million he made in 2022. Bancel’s compensation was a widely-discussed topic last year in the lead up to a well-publicized hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and its chair Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT).

In this year’s report, the company noted that Bancel’s total compensation to the median employee’s total annual compensation is 81 to 1, an improvement on the previous year’s ratio of 119 to 1.

Moderna, like other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, has struggled to pivot to opportunities in other disease states as the pandemic fades into endemicity. 

For the year in total, Moderna recorded revenues of $6.8 billion, down from $19.2 billion in 2022, going from a net income of $8.3 billion in 2022, to a net loss of $4.7 billion in 2023.

However, the company recorded a net income of $217 million during the most recent quarter, down from $1.4 billion one year prior, but its diluted EPS of $0.55 exceeded analyst expectations for a loss. 

Looking ahead, Moderna projects full-year revenue of approximately $4 billion from its respiratory franchise and is eyeing potential regulatory approvals for its RSV vaccine in the first half of 2024.

The company’s CFO James Mock’s total compensation dipped to $4.3 million from the $7.3 million he earned when he joined the company in 2022. 

Meanwhile, president Stephen Hoge, MD saw his compensation drop from $8.6 million to $7.3 million, though chief legal officer and corporate secretary Shannon Thyme Klinger saw her pay rise from $3.7 million to $4.3 million. Still, this was well below the $11.4 million she brought home in 2021.

Former chief commercial officer Arpa Garay earned $4.4 million, down from $7.6 million one year prior. Moderna announced in December that Garay would leave the company and remain an advisor during the transition through June 2024.


GSK CEO Dame Emma Walmsley total remuneration rose to £12.7 million in 2023 from £8.4 million in 2022.

Broken down, Walmsley received a salary of £1.3 million, contributing to a total fixed pay of £1.6 million. She also received an annual bonus of £3.7 million as well as £7.3 million in vesting of PSP LTI rewards, bringing her total pay for performance to £11.1 million.

Indeed, GSK enjoyed a strong 2023 thanks to the debut of its RSV vaccine Arexvy, which brought in £1.2 billion in sales. Shingrix added another £3.4 billion in sales and the vaccine group’s sales rose 25% year-over-year at constant exchange rates (CER).

For the full year, GSK’s total operating profit increased 10% at CER to £6.7 billion, its total earnings per share (EPS) rose 16% to 121.6p and its adjusted operating profit jumped 12% to £8.7 billion.

Looking at 2024, GSK estimated sales growth between 5% to 7%, along with an adjusted operating growth between 7% to 10% and an adjusted EPS growth between 6% to 9%. 

On the dealmaking front, GSK made a pair of notable acquisitions.

First, it added China-based Hansoh Pharma for $1.7 billion in order to pick up the rights to an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), HS-20093. The British pharma giant also bought Aiolos Bio for $1 billion upfront, with up to $400 million in potential milestone payments.

As it relates to the pay of the rest of the C-suite, CFO Julie Brown received £4.8 million in total pay from May 1 to the end of her first year at the drugmaker. 

This number was down from the £5.3 million received by her predecessor Iain Mackay in 2022. Mackay also received £6.4 million in total pay, with more than £6 million coming from pay for performance.


AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot received a total compensation package of £16.9 million in 2023, up from £15.3 million in 2022.

In the company’s annual report issued earlier this week, the British pharma giant indicated that Soriot is eligible to receive up to £18.6 million this year depending on the company’s financial performance.

During its most recent quarter, the drugmaker recorded total revenue of just over $12 billion, with its reported earnings per share (EPS) rising 5% at constant exchange rates (CER) to $0.62, while its core EPS increased 7% to $1.45.

For the full year, AstraZeneca’s total revenues rose 6% to $45.8 billion, supported by 4% product sales revenue growth. The company’s reported EPS increased 96% year-over-year to $3.84 and its core EPS rose 15% to $7.26.

However, that wasn’t enough to impress Wall Street analysts, as the quarterly core EPS was below analyst expectations of $1.48 and the revenue figure barely exceeded expectations of $12.01 billion.


Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan received 13.3 Swiss Francs (CHF) — or $15.3 million — in total compensation last year, up 21% from 2022.

Narasimhan has guided Novartis through a series of major business developments over the course of his multi-year tenure, including the spinoff of Sandoz last year and the ongoing $1.5 billion cost-cutting effort.

More recently, the company bought German cancer biotech MorphoSys AG for $2.9 billion

This came one week after it released its latest financials, including an earnings miss per consensus analyst expectations for Q4 2023.

Novartis’ quarterly core EPS was $1.53 and net sales totaled $11.4 billion, both year-over-year increases, though below analyst estimates. The drugmaker’s operating income for the quarter hit $2.5 billion, up 47% year-over-year, while its net income reached $2.6 billion, up 101%.


Meanwhile, Roche CEO Thomas Schinecker received 9.6 million CHF — $11 million — in total compensation during his first year at the helm of the Swiss healthcare giant.

One highlight from Schinecker’s brief time at the top post was Roche’s nearly $3 billion acquisition of Carmot Therapeutics at the end of the year to make a splash in the increasingly lucrative GLP-1 drug market.

All together, the four other members of Roche’s corporate executive committee received 4.8 million CHF in base pay and 6.2 million CHF in bonuses.

Schinecker’s pay was disclosed around the time of Roche’s latest earnings report, which showed that the company’s profit and sales dropped during 2023.

Though group sales rose 1% at CER, they fell 7% in CHF. The company’s core operating profit fell as well, down 1% at CER and 13% in CHF.

As for the future, Roche said it expects an increase in group sales in the mid-single-digit range at CER, with core earnings per share in line with sales growth at CER, excluding the impact from resolution of tax disputes in 2023.