Because there is more to do

Unique initiative Bristol Myers Squibb 'Because there is more to do': bringing more than medicines to Belgium

BMS launches new listening initiative with all citizens of Belgium, asking: "What is the #1 thing we can do beyond the provision of medicines to better support patients and the community?"


Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), a leading biopharmaceutical company, is taking patient and community support to another level. Starting today, it opens a public feedback forum that asks all interested citizens to share their views, that will contribute to new thinking on support programmes for patients and the community  in Belgium and across seven other European countries. With this initiative, BMS is listening to all citizens’ views, in an effort to learn what more it can do to support patients and their loved ones, in their lives and treatment journeys.

Véronique Walsh, General Manager at BMS Benelux: “We strongly believe that by listening more, we can achieve more. There’s a whole world beyond medicines, that goes further than the discovery, development and delivery of therapies, that goes even further than our vision of transforming patients’ lives through science. And that is to address the deeper needs of patients and society. We believe we have a responsibility to do more to support patients throughout their treatment journey and in healthcare in society. For example mental health issues, practical help and emotional support may seem to be details, but they make a world of difference to each patient’s personal situation. As we believe we have a responsibility to society, we want to hear from society. That’s why we would like to hear from you. Because there really is much more to do.”

This is the first time a biopharma company has opened its virtual doors to the public in an exchange of this kind, saying ‘we are listening and want to hear from you’, in a broad search for new perspectives from society. Specifically, BMS is asking the public what mental, educational and emotional support is needed for patients and their loved ones, and what they think is the Number One issue that BMS should focus on to best support patients and community.

‘Because there is more to do’ kicks off on November 16. People can share their views candidly in an online survey, run by IPSOS an independent market research agency. The survey will run in The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, through to year-end. 

The results of the views that people have shared will be summarised in a special report, to be published in early 2021 on the BMS website. It will point to new directions that BMS can take. BMS hopes that this listening initiative also sparks a wider discussion with key institutions on future needs and priorities for how pharmaceutical innovation can go beyond medicines in Belgium.

BMS stresses that the forum’s findings will inspire new local initiatives such as: engagement with industry, forums and debates, or patient support actions. The company also plans to partner with local communities including Patient Advocacy Groups, to create and fund programmes that put some of the public’s ideas into action locally. Indeed, this is not a typical survey or focus group, but the starting point of a public and long-term conversation with society at large, says Véronique Walsh.