Our Response to COVID-19
A Letter from CEO and Chairman, Giovanni Caforio, M.D.
May 13, 2020
To our global community:
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting each of us and the communities in which we live in different ways. Bristol Myers Squibb has taken steps to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of our workforce, ensure the continued supply of our medicines to our patients, focus on the long-term and sustainable competitive position of our company and support relief efforts across the globe.
Throughout this crisis, our more than 30,000 colleagues have never stopped working for patients, have demonstrated incredible resolve and support for one another and have contributed meaningfully to global relief efforts. Our emergency response team has been monitoring the situation since late February and quickly acting on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Our leaders are making quick decisions to ensure we help decelerate the spread of the virus and support our people, our patients and our communities.
We are protecting the health and safety of our colleagues and partners.
We are grounded in science and have taken action to ensure the safety of our colleagues – requiring those who can work from home to do so and implementing measures to protect those who continue to work on site.
As we advance planning efforts to bring our remote workforce back to our 250+ sites around the world and into the field, we are being guided by the following core principles:
- Serving the Needs of our Patients and Customers
- Prioritizing Health and Safety
- Following Medical Advice and Government Direction
- Leading with Compassion and Flexibility
- Modeling Key Learnings
Read more on our principles here.
No single approach will fit for every site or market. Recognizing that timelines and circumstances will vary across the globe, we will take a thoughtful and phased approach to support physical distancing. Throughout our planning, we will maintain our steadfast commitment to protecting the health and safety of our workforce and our communities while ensuring uninterrupted supply of medicines to patients and building on our competitive advantage.
We have a number of sites, including in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Israel that have already begun this process. We are learning valuable lessons on being nimble and collaborating in new ways, and this experience will drive us to become an even stronger and more resilient organization.
We continue to deliver high-quality medicines to patients.
An important element of keeping our promise to patients, their families and our healthcare providers is to ensure that our supply chain continues to deliver our medicines without interruption. We are diligently monitoring manufacturing and supply facilities across the globe and implementing proactive measures. At this time, we have not experienced any disruption in our clinical or commercial supply chain due to the pandemic.
We are also working with health authorities and investigators to appropriately manage the ongoing operations of clinical trials. Our highest priorities during this time are protecting the safety of our trial participants and personnel at Bristol Myers Squibb and our clinical trial sites, while ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of our science. To that end, we have provided clinical trial investigators with overarching principles and guidance regarding the conduct of BMS clinical trials worldwide in light of COVID-19, and in consideration of guidance from health authorities, where applicable.
We are committed to providing support to patients who need our medicines.
We recognize this is a challenging time for everyone, and we know patients may be facing additional hardships. As more patients face difficult decisions in their daily lives, it is important to continue their treatments. We are proud to offer relief through our Bristol Myers Squibb patient support programs. Between Bristol Myers Squibb patient support programs and the Bristol Myers Squibb Patient Assistance Foundation, more than $2 billion in free medicine was provided in 2019. This commitment holds especially true today.
On April 7, we expanded our existing patient support programs to help eligible unemployed patients in the U.S. who have lost their health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The expanded program offers access to Bristol Myers Squibb medicines for free, including some of the company’s most widely prescribed products, as well as those prescribed via telehealth services. Additional information can be found here. All Bristol Myers Squibb patient support programs, including additional eligibility requirements, can be reached by calling (800) 721-8909.
We are taking every precaution to help decelerate the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to work-from-home and meeting restrictions for our workforce, our customer-facing personnel in certain markets have suspended in-person interactions with healthcare facilities staff and providers. We are using digital technology to ensure continued support for healthcare professionals, patient care and access to our medicines.
We are contributing to COVID-19 relief efforts.
We are committed to supporting communities deeply affected by the virus. Bristol Myers Squibb and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, are actively and separately contributing to relief efforts around the world. Together, Bristol Myers Squibb and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation have contributed more than $22 million in financial support and needed products (e.g. PPE and medical equipment) to relief efforts in 40 countries. We’re focusing on areas of highest unmet need, including ensuring basic human needs, addressing medical supply shortages and supporting continued care of our most vulnerable communities.
We support our global employees who are licensed healthcare providers and want to volunteer to help in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our colleagues who are licensed healthcare professionals are supported as they volunteer in local hospitals with full pay and BMS benefits. In addition, our colleagues across the world have also volunteered their skills virtually. Through Skills2Give, an ongoing Bristol Myers Squibb volunteer program, colleagues in the U.S., U.K. and Australia have the option to select from virtual volunteer opportunities with thousands of nonprofit organizations. Over 3,000 employees are registered with the program.
We are working with researchers, the biotech community and the broader life sciences industry on ways we together can accelerate therapies for COVID-19.
Among other efforts, we have identified approximately 1,000 compounds in our discovery library that we are making available to collaborators for screening for potential treatments for COVID-19. We are evaluating certain medicines in our portfolio that could be included in near-term clinical trials with a focus on agents that may have an impact on the inflammatory immune response associated with COVID-19. This research may advance as either company-sponsored or investigator-sponsored trials under the leadership of a Bristol Myers Squibb cross-functional team focused on advancing this science with a sense of urgency.
We are also participating in several cross-industry groups and public-private partnerships designed to foster collaboration and coordinate industry response efforts, and thereby accelerate the development, manufacture, and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19.
As a responsible global citizen, we will take all necessary actions to promote public health and carry out our mission of providing life-saving medicines to the patients who depend on us.
This letter originally posted on March 16 and was most recently updated on May 13, 2020.