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Pfizer CEO Albert Burla received $24.3 million in total compensation for 2021.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks at a press conference following a visit to oversee production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at US pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s plant in Puurse, Belgium April 23, 2021.

John Tees | swimming pool | Reuters

Pfizer CEO Albert Burla received $24.3 million in total compensation for 2021, up 15% from the previous year, as the company’s annual profit more than doubled thanks to the successful introduction of a Covid vaccine.

Burla received an $8 million cash incentive on top of his $1.69 million salary. He also received shares and options totaling $13.2 million, as well as $1.38 million in other compensation.

Burla’s total stake, about 597,000 shares, is worth over $32 million at Thursday’s closing price of $54.24. He is also eligible for a golden parachute worth nearly $113 million as of December 31 if the company is sold and he loses his job as a result.

Burla also received over $336,000 for home security and over $60,000 for air travel. His total salary is 262 times the average Pfizer employee’s salary.

Pfizer recorded a profit of nearly $22 billion in 2021, doubling from the previous year, as the company’s Covid vaccine became the most widely used vaccine in the US and European Union. Pfizer’s Covid vaccine sales were $36.7 billion in 2021, about 45% of its $81.2 billion annual revenue. Pfizer is forecasting another $32 billion in vaccine sales this year.

The vaccine was co-developed with BioNTech, its German partner, who created the technology behind the vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech share vaccine profits equally.

The Pfizer vaccine was the first Covid vaccine to receive emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration in December, and the first to receive full approval from the FDA. The eligibility age was gradually lowered to all over 5 years of age.

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 from vaccines is controversial with activist groups who are urging companies to share their intellectual property with developing countries to help increase vaccination coverage. Oxfam America, in its proposal to Pfizer’s annual meeting, called on shareholders to support a feasibility study for the transfer of vaccine core technology.

Pfizer’s Board of Directors urged shareholders to vote against the proposal, saying that the transfer of technology behind vaccines requires highly skilled local partners with the know-how to manufacture them. The company has pledged to deliver 2 billion doses of the vaccine to poorer countries by the end of 2022.

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