Has Amgen crossed into Big Pharma territory?

Has Amgen ($AMGN) proven itself a card-carrying member of Big Pharma? Signs point in that direction, the Pacific Coast Business Times says. After all, the company not only announced its first dividend earlier this year--and that's one of the hallmarks of a Big Pharma stock--but has now embarked on a multibillion-dollar stock-buyback plan. And as anyone who follows Big Pharma knows, almost everyone who's anyone in that club is either in the middle of a buyback program or has wrapped one up in recent years.

We'd submit another bit of evidence: Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer has found his pay package in the spotlight. A recent special report by The Washington Post used Sharer as its prime example of a CEO with a whopping compensation plan at a time when regular workers' wages are stagnating--and his own company's stock isn't performing up to par.

Big Pharma's top executives are familiar with those sorts of questions. Just consider Johnson & Johnson's Bill Weldon, Abbott Laboratories' Miles White, Schering-Plough's ex-chief Fred Hassan, even the comparatively lower-paid Novartis chairman and ex-CEO Daniel Vasella, whose compensation ranked him as the highest-paid company chief in Switzerland. They've seen their names and dollar signs in headlines plenty of times.

And then there's the less-attractive fact that Amgen is negotiating a marketing settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The company recently announced that it was setting aside $780 million for a potential resolution to long-running allegations that it improperly promoted its anemia drugs Epogen and Aranesp. That figure puts it right in the middle of Big Pharma peers AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Eli Lilly ($LLY), which wrapped up marketing allegations with $520 million and $1.4 billion, respectively.

- read the Business Times story
- read The Washington Post story

Related Articles:
Amgen to cut 380 R&D jobs
Kevin Sharer - 2010 CEO Pay
Amgen's all grown up now, paying dividends

Suggested Articles

A suspected cancer-causing impurity that has been found in some blood pressure medicines has now shown up in Zantac and some OTC antacids.

Roche is steamrolling with Ocrevus, and to maintain that lead, its touting long-term data that show the earlier it’s given, the better patients do.

New data shows a significant reduction in relapse rates in patients taking Novartis' repurposed cancer drug ofatumumab.