May 17, 2020

CEOs from leading healthcare companies are earning increased figures, report finds

Catherine Sturman
2 min
A recent report by Axios has highlighted that since the Affordable Care Act has come into force, healthcare CEOs have been significantly profiting, with...

A recent report by Axios has highlighted that since the Affordable Care Act has come into force, healthcare CEOs have been significantly profiting, with companies cumulatively earning $9.8 billion.

The figure is astonishing, and will no doubt outrage US citizens, where their ability to access vital healthcare services is becoming an increased concern, especially with President Trump’s current efforts to replace the ACA within the US.

Since 2010, 70 CEOs “earnings have far outstripped the wage growth of nearly all Americans,” highlighting that these CEOs could be out of touch with the very patients that they are treating, and have no plans to rein in healthcare spending, which is steadily on the rise.

Based on financial reports from 70 publicly traded US healthcare companies, John Martin, former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has accumulated $863 million, the highest figure of all CEOs. Following suit is John Hammergren (McKesson), accumulating $587 million, Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, who has amassed $338 million, and Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group with $279 million.

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However, the report highlights that “a large portion of what CEOs make, comes in the form of vested stock. These incentives drive their decision-making. The analysis shows that since the ACA was passed, health care executives routinely took measures to inflate stock prices — such as repurchasing shares or issuing dividends to shareholders — that led to higher take-home pay.”

A clever move, but this also has motivated CEOs to not focus on areas such as lowering prices, providing quality, patient centered, personalised services which are coordinated and systematic, to instead focus on the upsell of prescription drugs (which could be linked to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the US), raise prices and find ways in which to increase further revenue. Consequently, 11 pharmaceutical and drug-related company CEOs made the list.




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May 19, 2021

Vaccine rollout spurring dark net activity, McAfee finds

2 min
Research by McAfee has found illegal sales of fake COVID-19 vaccines and tests on the dark net

A report by security software company McAfee has found a huge rise in the availability and demand for illegal COVID-19 vaccines. 

The research by McAfee Advanced Threat Research found evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are currently available on at least a dozen dark net marketplaces. Vaccines allegedly made by Pfizer-BioNTech are being sold for $600 to $2,500 per dose, with vendors using channels such as Wickr, Telegram, WhatsApp and Gmail to advertise and communicate. 

Some of the supposed vaccines are imported from the US, while others are packed in the UK and shipped all over the world, according to the listings.

Moderna vaccines, potentially fraudulent antibody tests and fake vaccine cards are also being increasingly sold on the dark web, on at least 10 different underground markets. 

Anne An, senior security researcher at McAfee’s Advanced Programs Group, told us that with the increased global demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, the demand for illegal vaccines, fake test results and vaccination record cards has also grown. "Consumers who are buying these items pose a serious threat to public health and spur the underground economy" she said. 

"Opportunistic cybercriminals capitalise on public interest in obtaining a COVID-19 immunity passport. These bad actors can also benefit by reselling the names, dates of birth, home addresses, contact details and other personally indefinable information of their customers." 

As well as cyber security measures, An says education is necessary to stem the rise in these illegal sales. "Dark net selling of illegal COVID-19 vaccinations, fake test results and vaccination record cards is both a cybersecurity issue and an educational issue.

"On the one hand, channels being used as a means of business have the responsibility to monitor and mitigate cybercriminal activity on their platforms. On the other, the ongoing efforts of government and medical officials to provide factual information on COVID-19 and vaccinations is critical to discouraging the demand for fraudulent alternatives."  

Read McAfee's report Fool’s Gold”: Questionable Vaccines, Bogus Results, and Forged Cards

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