Annual financial filings compiled by Axios Friday show that 10 of the nation's top healthcare CEOs took home more than $300 million in combined pay in 2019, compensation that Sen. Bernie Sanders denounced as "outrageous" and indicative of the industry's greed.
"While Americans continue to pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the top 10 healthcare CEOs made over $300 million in compensation last year," tweeted Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
"We will end the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and pass Medicare for All," added Sanders, who has been targeted by industry-backed ad campaigns against universal healthcare.
Axios reported that the executives' eye-popping compensation in 2019 "mostly came from large stock gains."
Ari Bousbib, CEO of pharmaceutical data firm IQVIA, raked in more than $104 million in 2019, according to Axios' healthcare executive compensation tracker. Gary Guthart, CEO of clinical technology firm Intuitive Surgical CEO, brought home nearly $50.5 million. David Ricks, chief executive at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, made over $30 million.
"The healthcare system is a firehose of spending," Axios noted, "and a good chunk of that money always makes its way to the top."