Amgen CEO: "I felt real economic pain"

What do you do when your biggest therapeutic earners are swooning, your stock price is down and analysts have turned scornful? Look for that silver lining. That was Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer's approach yesterday when he was confronted by an angry horde of shareholders at the company's annual meeting. While conceding that last year was 'awful,' the chief executive of one of the biggest biotechs in the world said Amgen was off to a good start in '08. And those troubles the company is facing aren't really all that different from the woes faced by other big drug companies.

It was a tough sell. Even with his income down by 29 percent compared to 2006, steamed shareholders questioned Sharer's $13.2 million in compensation ($19 million according to SEC filings), his driver and car and use of the company plane.

Hey, responded Sharer, his shares are down too. "I felt real economic pain," he told the group. With Amgen shares down 30 percent from the 52-week high and Aranesp sales off by 20 percent, there was plenty of pain to go around the room.

- check out the article from the Los Angeles Times

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