SEC: Biogen can't block shareholder vote on drug prices, executive pay - (Boston Business Journal via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has informed Biogen and other drugmakers that they cannot block shareholders from holding non-binding votes on drug pricing and executive compensation, Boston Business Journal reported Monday.

  • Earlier this month, the SEC denied requests by AbbVie, Amgen, Biogen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly to omit the proposals from their respective annual meetings.

  • The investor proposals call on the drugmakers to clarify whether their incentive packages reward or fail to punish senior executives for heeding "public concern over drug pricing strategies."

  • The proposals come as Biogen has faced scrutiny over the $750 000 price tag for Spinraza.

  • "We are encouraged by Biogen’s improved transparency on pricing," the investors commented, adding "we are concerned, however, that the incentive compensation arrangements applicable to Biogen's senior executives may not encourage senior executives to take actions that result in lower short-term financial performance, even when those actions may be in Biogen's best long-term financial interests."

  • Meanwhile, Biogen had contended that it provided adequate information regarding the factors considered in executive compensation, adding that the proposals covered "ordinary business operations," which are barred under SEC rules.

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