According to a STAT analysis of hundreds of financial filings, the CEOs of approximately 300 health care companies collectively took home more than $4.5 billion in 2021. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals CEO Leonard Schleifer represented 10% of that total on his own, pulling in an astounding $453 million. Sometimes there are no words.

STAT said, “while more than 100 CEOs collected eight-figure paydays last year, the health care system pushed millions into medical debt, spurred patients to ration medications, and devoured more of everyone’s paychecks”.

Health care CEOs made an average of $15.3 million last year, while the median was around $7 million. Several inordinately large pay packages skewed the averages: 29 CEOs, all men, made over $40 million or more.


The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that CEO compensation has grown 1,322% since 1978, while typical worker compensation has risen just 18%. In 2020, CEOs of the top 350 firms in the U.S. made $24.2 million, on average — 351 times more than a typical worker.

A new poll found that bipartisan majorities of U.S. adults think CEO pay is too high, presenting a challenge for corporate boards looking to balance compensation for leaders and workers.

In a survey of 1,037 people, 81% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans said the CEOs of the most prominent American companies were paid “too much,” according to the poll sponsor. But healthcare is different. People who can’t afford healthcare into bankruptcy or die. How the hell can anyone justify a $450 million compensation package?

When I worked at Lilly, and we lost the patent on our top drug, the CEO paid $1.00. I doubt that kind of integrity exists today. I’m struggling with this report because I have listened to patients in numerous focus groups talk about the cost of treatments. I’m angry and disappointed that healthcare has become too profitable, focusing on shareholders instead of patients.