Police Facebook campaign calls on high-paid Pharma CEOs to tackle opioid abuse
Who earns more: CEO of opioid analgesic drug Nucynta maker J&J, Alex Gorsky, or Ian Read, Head of Avinza (morphine) making pharma firm Pfizer?
Well according to the Gloucester Police Department in Massachusetts, Gorksy earns about $3m less than Read, with a paltry $20.4m per year, though both fall short of Merck & Co.’s Kenneth Frazier who earns $25m and has “a cool private jet.”
The Police Department published this data, along with the salaries of Abbott and Lilly’s CEO on Facebook last week, urging the local community to contact the CEOs directly and put pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to help manage opiate addiction.
“Now...don't get mad,” the post states. “Just politely ask them what they are doing to address the opioid epidemic in the United States and if they realize that the latest data shows almost 80% of addicted persons start with a legally prescribed drug that they make.”
“They can definitely be part of the solution here and I believe they will be....might need a little push.”
The Police Department was hailed by some Facebook users as “a glimmer of light in the very dark world of addiction,” with many citing personal stories of addictions beginning from the use of pain-relieving medication.
The five CEOs and their salaries, as posted by the department are:
- Merck - Kenneth C. Frazier - $25 million + cool private jet
- Pfizer - Ian Read $23.3 million
- Johnson & Johnson - Alex Gorsky $20.38 million
- Abbott Labs - Miles D. White $17.7 million
- Eli Lilly - John Lechleiter $14.48 million
Many noted the omission of Purdue Pharma’s CEO Mark Timney.
His firm manufactures Oxycontin, a time-released drug containing the semisynthetic opioid oxycodone.
In 2007, the firm agreed to pay $600m in fines after misbranding its product as being less likely to be abused than traditional narcotics.
The Gloucester Police Department is boasting some success from the campaign, claiming Pfizer has already been in contact and is open to discussions.
“Pssst....Pfizer called (honestly)...we are meeting with them,” the department posted on Facebook on Friday.
“When you continue to make your calls, thank them because they could have ignored us all. Instead, within 48 hours… they responded. We've got Mass Assisted Health Plans at the table (MAHP). They're doing good things.”