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POLITICS

Load up 'reform' with corporate welfare, get a raise

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Jeff Kindler is the CEO of Pfizer, the nation's largest drug company, and he is also a happy man these days. Pfizer announced a 12.5% salary hike for Kindler, bringing his salary to $1.8 million, and his total compensation to $14.9 million.

One of the reasons cited, in Pfizer's proxy statement, for this raise: his health-care lobbying:

During 2009, Mr. Kindler was actively involved, through both Pfizer and external organizations, in developing and advancing U.S. and global public policies that serve the overall interests of our Company and our shareholders, as well as doctors and patients. These efforts included constructive participation in the U.S. legislative process to advance Pfizer’s goals of achieving a more rational operating environment; improving Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care; preserving the doctor/patient relationship; and enhancing policies that promote innovation. Also, through both Pfizer and external organizations, he has sought to ensure the availability of safe medicines by opposing legislation that would allow for importation of prescription drugs that could jeopardize the integrity of the drug supply chain in the U.S.

Pfizer, and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA, likely the main "external organization" to which the above paragraph refers) were heavy lobbyists, and were famously allied with President Obama in this fight. PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin cut a deal with the White House, and the Senate bill turned out very pro-drugmaker, earning Tauzin's praise.

Kindler visited the White House at least five times in Obama's first six months.

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