Our Response to COVID-19

A Letter from CEO and Chairman, Giovanni Caforio, M.D.

August 04, 2020

To our global community:

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect 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 January 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 minimize the spread of the virus and support our people, our patients and our communities.

We are grounded in science and taking action to protect the health and safety of our colleagues. 
We are taking a thoughtful and phased approach to bringing our remote workforce back to our 250+ sites around the world and into the field. No single approach fits for every site or market – our timelines and circumstances vary across the globe. 

Across our company, 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.

Many of our sites have begun the process of bringing our remote workforce back to sites and into the field. As we do so, we are monitoring local conditions and government direction closely and are prepared to adjust our plans as appropriate. 

We are learning valuable lessons on being nimble and collaborating in new ways, and this experience is driving 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 updated guidance regarding the conduct of Bristol Myers Squibb 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 remains 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 minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Our customer-facing /field personnel are employing a combination of in-person and remote interactions to ensure continued support for healthcare professionals, patient care and access to our medicines across our global markets.

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 $31 million in financial support and needed products (e.g., PPE and medical equipment) to relief efforts in 43 countries. Both the company and the Foundation are focusing on areas of highest unmet need, including providing for basic human needs, addressing medical supply shortages and supporting continued care in the 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 3,700 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. 
We are participating in several cross-industry groups and public-private partnerships designed to foster collaboration and coordinate industry response efforts, and thereby accelerate the development, manufacturing, and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19. 

We have a proof-of-concept clinical trial in progress to assess the safety and efficacy of ORENCIA® (abatacept) in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We are also evaluating other compounds 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. 

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 August 4, 2020.

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