Innovative medicines contribute to the health and wealth of society. Over the last 50-plus years, life expectancy for men and women has increased dramatically all over the world with the advent and greater availability of innovative medicines playing a definitive role.1 Pharmaceutical advances in several therapeutic areas of strategic importance to Bristol-Myers Squibb are particularly illustrative of such gains:
- Atrial Fibrillation (AF): AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). The majority of AF patients have non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) and the risk of stroke is five times higher in this patient population. For decades, the standard of care for NVAF required routine blood testing and frequent dose adjustments. While a risk of bleeding is associated with all oral anticoagulants, novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) that now exist offer potential advantages over previous treatments, including fewer drug interactions and fixed doses, without the need for routine blood testing.
- Cancer: Thanks to medical innovation, people with cancer are living longer with added societal benefits.2 In the U.S., between 1990 and 2013, the 43 million life-years saved from cancer have generated about $4.7 trillion in added income.3,4 In another study, medicines specifically account for 50 percent to 60 percent of increases in survival rates since 1975.5 Advances in science are leading to innovations in cancer treatments that are fundamentally different than traditional therapy such as radiation and chemotherapy. Immuno-Oncology agents are groundbreaking modalities designed to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, and are being studied for their potential to improve quality and length of survival in multiple tumor types.
- Hepatitis C (HCV): As recently as 1989, the virus behind this disease was not well understood, only being referred to as non-A, non-B Hepatitis. Until 2013, the standard of care offered comparatively limited efficacy, had harsh side effects and was inconvenient for patients. With the very recent advent of Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) therapy, cure rates are now approaching 100 percent even in many difficult to treat patient types.
- HIV/AIDS: Patients diagnosed with AIDS in 1990 could expect to live only months, during which time they would be likely to contract a number of other infections. In the 30-plus years since the discovery of the HIV virus, more than 30 medicines have been approved to treat HIV infection. Over time, medicines have improved in tolerability, efficacy and convenience. Today, a patient who receives HIV antiretroviral therapy may expect to have a lifespan approaching that of someone who does not have HIV.6,7
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): As late as the 1990s, the most often used agents against this incapacitating disease were gold salts with debilitating side effects, limited efficacy and slow onset of action. Today, thanks to earlier diagnosis and innovative treatments, bone abnormalities in patients with RA are much less frequent. In addition to being able to better manage the symptoms of the disease, newer biologic medicines and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) allow physicians to directly target the disease, slow the progression of joint damage and even possibly put the disease into remission.8
Bristol-Myers Squibb believes in the value our medicines bring to patients and society and their role in transforming care to help patients live longer, healthier and more productive lives. We focus on medicines that meaningfully change patient outcomes, and we have made significant contributions in areas such as HIV, hepatitis, cardiovascular disease and, most recently, immuno-oncology.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to providing access to our prescription medicines at fair prices to further our mission to help patients prevail over serious diseases. We take great care to price our medicines based on the value they deliver, the scientific innovation they represent, economic factors that impact healthcare systems’ capacity to provide appropriate, rapid and sustainable access to patients, and the investment necessary to develop them.
A medicine’s ultimate price should be reflective of its level of innovation and the overall value it brings to patients and society over time. We also believe that value should be judged comprehensively, inclusive of the views of patients, payers, providers and the overall society, with the active participation of all stakeholders, including the innovator.
Bristol-Myers Squibb supports the use of tiered pricing between distinct groups of countries, in instances of disproportionate disease impact. For instance, for over a decade, Bristol-Myers Squibb has maintained a policy of tiered pricing for our HIV medicines in an attempt to reduce barriers that delay broad and accelerated access to treatment for HIV patients around the world.
As part of our commitment to helping patients prevail over serious diseases, we also drive and support a number of programs designed to raise patient awareness, including prevention and diagnosis and access to treatment and care. Several examples are SECURE THE FUTURE; Delivering Hope and the U.S. Patient Assistance Program.
1World Population Prospects, the 2008 Revision. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Population Division, New York. Since 1950, the average lifespan in the U.S. and Europe has increased by a decade. In the developing world, the gains are more dramatic with a gain of just over 20 years. In emerging markets such as India and China, the gains are nearly 30 years over the period.
2Five Facts About Innovative Cancer Medicines, PhRMA, May 2014 http://www.phrma.org/catalyst/five-facts-about-the-value-of-innovative-cancer-medicines
3F.R. Lichtenberg, current estimates based on “Has Medical Innovation Reduced Cancer Mortality,” Columbia University and National Bureau of Economic Research, Revised 12 April 2013.
4PhRMA: Since 2004, cancer innovations were largely responsible for a 40-percent increase in living cancer survivors, from 9.8 million to 13.6 million. The new therapies also saved $188 billion on hospitalizations.
5F.R. Lichtenberg, "The Expanding Pharmaceutical Arsenal in the War on Cancer," National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 10328 (Cambridge, MA: NBER, February 2004).
6May Margaret T. et. al, Impact on Life Expectancy of HIV-1 Positive Individuals of CD4R Cell Count and Viral Load Response to Antiretroviral Therapy, AIDS. 28(8):1193-1202, 2014.
7The Washington Post, June 20, 2014, A Mississippi infant’s case opens a new door on studying a cure for HIV, June 20, 2014. Dr. Anthony F. Fauci directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/anthony-fauci-a-mississippi-infants-case-opens-a-new-door-on-studying-a-cure-for-hiv/2014/06/20/a5faf5b2-f7e8-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html