The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to allow shareholders in five large drug makers to vote on a proposal demanding the companies compile reports about the risks created by high prices and also examine the extent to which pricing strategies propel executive compensation. The companies involved are AbbVie (ABBV), Amgen (AMGN), Biogen (BIIB), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), and Eli Lilly (LLY).
At the same time, the SEC nixed a proposal to allow Pfizer (PFE) shareholders to vote for reports on pricing risks, but not the effect pricing has on executive compensation. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) shareholders will, however, be able to vote on such a resolution, because the company did not challenge the proposal, which a Vertex spokeswoman confirmed.
Overall, the decisions are a victory for a coalition of 51 institutional investors, which has regularly pressured drug makers to respond to the potential jeopardy confronting shareholders over the rising cost of prescription medicines. A new poll found that 52 percent of Americans say passing legislation to lower drug costs should be a “top priority” for President Trump.