Modern science has transformed countless lives and outright saved many others, turning once deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS into manageable conditions, reducing mortality from cardiovascular disease, and expanding treatment options for often debilitating illnesses such as diabetes, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and more.
Science is now making it possible to harness the body’s own immune system to change survival expectations in multiple types of cancers — a revolutionary approach that was once met with widespread skepticism from the medical and science communities, even as recently as 10 years ago. Many patients who once had no chance of survival now may have the opportunity to not only live but rediscover a good quality of life.
At Bristol Myers Squibb we are deeply proud to be a leader in an industry at the forefront of such scientific advances.
And yet there is so much more we must do. Our medicines — as novel, as transformative as they might be — can’t help our patients if our healthcare systems do not provide a way for patients to afford new medicines.
It is our responsibility as an industry to help address the problem of escalating healthcare costs and to ensure those who need our medicines can access them. We must redesign our healthcare systems to work better for patients by lowering out-of-pocket costs, enabling new payment models, and enhancing the availability of generic and biosimilar treatments. We also must support public policies that nurture and reward scientific advancement and the development of new and more effective cutting-edge therapies.
This week, I become chairman of the board of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). I took this role because my colleagues and I, here at Bristol Myers Squibb and across our peer companies, are committed to working proactively with policymakers to implement real and sustainable change that provides incentives for cutting-edge science, as well as access to those innovative medicines for any patient in need.