Top 15 Big Pharma Paychecks of 2008

Every year, executive salaries cause a flap as industry watchers compare who makes what, who got a raise and who's spending the most on air travel, security, drivers and the like. Inevitably, the numbers cause controversy. Last year's massive rounds of layoffs--along with broad criticism of CEO salaries due to economic problems--have made this year's salaries even more subject to scrutiny.

There are several notable moves in this year's ranking. With a hefty $29.5 million haul in 2008, J&J's Bill Weldon jumped two spots to number one, knocking Abbot's Miles White to second place (White's pay dropped from $33 million in 2007 to $28.3 million in 2008). Schering-Plough's Fred Hassan fell all the way down to number 11 from the number two spot last year as his pay plummeted from $30.1 million to $12.9 million. Hassan--along with Wyeth's Bernard Poussot and Sanofi's Le Fur--will not be on our list next year; Schering Plough and Wyeth were absorbed by Merck and Pfizer respectively, and Le Fur has been replaced by former GSK exec Chris Viehbacher. No CEO made over $30 million in 2008, which Weldon and White both topped in 2007.

Biotech CEOs, suchs as Amgen's Kevin Sharer and Genentech's Arthur Levinson, are not included on the Big Pharma list but will be covered in an upcoming report on biotech executive salaries. To discover more details for yourself--or to find out what your boss is making--take a look at the full list.