Moderna CEO criticised for making 12,000x of a minimum wage worker in 2022

In 2022, CEO Stephane Bancel made about $393 million by exercising stock options

Stephane Bancel (Getty Images)
Stephane Bancel (Getty Images)


Moderna CEO has drawn criticism for making more than 12,000 times of what a minimum wage worker made in 2022.

In 2022, CEO Stephane Bancel made about $393 million by exercising stock options. In addition, securities filings from March revealed that he earned a $1.5 million salary -- a 50 per cent jump from 2021.

"Moderna handed over $4 billion to shareholders during the Covid-19 pandemic, after extracting more than $10 billion from US taxpayers. Last year, Moderna's CEO pocketed nearly $400 million, equivalent to almost $189,000 an hour, more than 12,000 times what a minimum wage worker makes in the company's home state," said Mohga Kamal-Yanni from the People's Vaccine Alliance, in a statement.

However, the company defended the raises for Bancel and others as "reflective of merit", The Washington Post reported.

The US pharma giant Moderna, known for its lifesaving coronavirus vaccine, pointed out that shareholders have done well and overwhelmingly approved its compensation plan last year.

The pay is "appropriate in light of the increased scope of increasingly global responsibility for Moderna's executives", the company said.

Bancel, 50, said he is donating the proceeds of stock sales to charity. He owns stock worth at least $2.8 billion and, as of the end of last year, had additional stock-based compensation valued at $1.7 billion, the report said.

Meanwhile, Bancel also plans to hike the price of its Covid shots fivefold -- to $130 -- as the US government will end the public health emergency on May 11. This would mean Americans will have to fend on their own for Covid tests, treatments, and vaccines that were provided free during the pandemic.

Moderna expects demand for the vaccine to fall by 90 per cent, leaving the company on the hook for any wasted doses, Bancel said, during a Senate hearing. During the pandemic, the federal government picked up those costs.

The company has been charging the US government about $26 per dose.

"To protect people, we need to make more than we think is going to be needed. We are going to have to pay for it," Bancel said.

"Moderna plans to raise prices five-fold in the US. Meanwhile, the company has refused to share technology with a WHO-backed programme to build mRNA vaccine production in developing countries, instead filing far-reaching patents in South Africa where the program is based," Kamal-Yanni said.

"How much will ever be enough? As Harry Truman said of Second World War Profiteers. Their greed knows no limit'. Pharmaceutical companies like Moderna are the War Profiteers of our time, and governments must curb their power with national and international actions to force the sharing of technology, remove intellectual property barriers, and cut prices," she added.

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