U.S. pension funds push back over executive pay at Mylan

Put off by what they see as exorbitant pay for Mylan executives, some big pension funds are attempting to block the re-election of a number of board members, including chairman and former chief executive officer Robert Coury, who received $100 million last year.

The New York City and New York State comptrollers both signed a letter sent to shareholders, as did a representative of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and PGGM, a Dutch pension fund.

The institutional investment funds say they want Mylan NV, with its U.S. headquarters based just outside of Pittsburgh, held accountable for a “costly record of compensation, risk and compliance failures.”

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They say huge paychecks were awarded to executives as backlash from consumers and the U.S. government escalated over prices Mylan charged for its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment.

Lawmakers challenged Mylan last year for its EpiPen pricing, which has climbed more than 500 per cent since 2007. CVS is now selling a rival, generic version of EpiPen at about a sixth of the price of the brand-name version of the life-saving allergy treatment.

A Mylan representative did not return calls from The Associated Press Wednesday seeking comment.

The pension funds noted in their letter that Mylan chief executive officer Heather Bresch and president Rajiv Malik both received annual bonuses that exceeded their base salaries for last year, but the company “suffered significant reputational and financial harm,” and shareholders took a hit as well. The company’s stock price dove after Mylan started taking widespread criticism for its EpiPen price last summer.

The funds claim control of about 4.3 million Mylan shares.

Read: Why are EpiPens so much cheaper in Canada?