News & Perspectives

What is BMS doing on the world stage to advance global health and access to innovation?

Here’s how BMS has been part of the most prominent discussions this fall around global health and innovation, from the UN General Assembly to the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit.

November 16, 2023     

This fall, BMS took part in a few of the most prominent global dialogues around health and science, represented by the Global Policy and Government Affairs team under Senior Vice President Amadou Diarra.

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest issues on the global health agenda, and how BMS is contributing to solutions.

78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Every year, the main policymaking body of the United Nations (UN) comes together for its 193 member states to debate the world’s biggest issues. Unlike in previous years, health topped the agenda at this session, with significant meetings on issues including universal health coverage (UHC).

Universal health coverage: The high-level meeting on UHC was a critical moment for governments to commit to actions that will accelerate progress toward achieving one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – achieving good health and well-being for all by 2030. In 2020, BMS committed to spending $150 million over five years to accelerate health equity initiatives. A few ways the company is working to narrow the gaps in care among underserved communities are: building more diverse clinical trials, expanding access to treatment worldwide, and supporting public policy to address disparities.

Read more from our head of global health equity, Manan Shah, on the goal to achieve healthcare for all.

Health financing
: On the sidelines of the event, BMS joined several of its partners, including the World Bank and Access Accelerated, to outline paths for sustainable health funding in lower-income countries. BMS is a founding member of Access Accelerated, which was started in 2017 and brings together biopharmaceutical companies to advance care for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries. Since 2020, BMS and its partners in Access Accelerated have leveraged more than $3.7 billion in new investments to improve access to NCD care across dozens of countries.

“There’s a lot of hope in innovation, but the largest potential is in collaboration. The more sophisticated the technologies behind our treatments, the more innovative the partnership has to be to drive access for patients.”
Amadou Diarra, Senior Vice President, Global Policy and Government Affairs
Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum

Started in 2004, the STS Forum brings together scientists, policymakers, and business and academic leaders to discuss advances in science and technology. This was the 20th anniversary of the gathering, and nearly 1,500 leaders from over 80 countries, regions, and international organizations convened in Kyoto, Japan.

Artificial intelligence (AI): BMS and its peers came together to talk about the many opportunities for AI in healthcare, and they shared how researchers are deploying the latest approaches in AI: data mining, robotics process automation, predictive modeling, and in silico molecular design, to name a few. At BMS, this is core to increasing the chances of success in the clinic – paving new paths for patients around the world. BMS’ “3D” approach to clinical innovation, which combines data, design and digital technologies, is helping to build faster and more targeted drug-development programs.

Biotechnology: In Kyoto, Sarah Hersey, vice president of Precision Medicine at BMS, laid out some of the ways BMS and others in the field have made tremendous progress in personalized healthcare. For example, the ability to closely monitor disease through minimally invasive blood draws means researchers can pinpoint if the body starts to resist treatment, and then investigate why. This helps them develop new drugs that are more specific to a patient’s needs.

Sustainable science: Beyond discussing the science, there were conversations about working toward net-zero emissions and climate adaptation. BMS has set a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and is taking steps across the company to meet that target. To reduce the environmental footprint in the lab, we use My Green Lab (MGL) and the Green Labs Certification Program. MGL, considered the international gold standard for laboratory sustainability, is helping BMS explore new sustainability practices and technologies to reach our goals.

Amadou Diarra, senior vice president, Global Policy and Government Affairs, during a discussion on innovation and access at the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit.

World Cancer Leaders’ Summit

Organized by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC), this summit brings together leading experts from global health and cancer organizations. Decision-makers from over 70 countries convened to discuss ways to confront new challenges in cancer care and close the gaps in access worldwide.

Geographic gaps: There remain large gaps in access around the world, particularly in Southeast Asia, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Today, over 70% of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Cancer hotspots are shifting, underscoring the need for ongoing and coordinated surveillance, as well as preventive action. For example, the global burden of colorectal cancer, which is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide, has been shifting to low- and middle-income countries. To tackle this, BMS is part of the Access to Oncology Medicine (ATOM) Coalition, led by the UICC, which is making cancer medicines more accessible and affordable to patients in these countries.

Cancer is expected to become the leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, and climate change is among the factors driving cancer cases, as global temperature rise disrupts access to care and alters ultraviolet exposure and air quality.

Climate crisis: Cancer is expected to become the leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, and climate change is among the factors driving cancer cases, as global temperature rise disrupts access to care and alters ultraviolet exposure and air quality. Through partnerships like the Forum for the Future’s Climate and Health Coalition, BMS is helping to elevate awareness and motivate action to address the complex consequences of climate change, including the impacts on global public health.

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