How We Price Our Medicines
We Know There Are Concerns about Health Care Costs
At Bristol-Myers Squibb we understand the concern with escalating health care costs, and with the increased burden they place on patients and their families. We are actively engaged in this discussion. Through our research, we focus on transforming the treatment of serious disease, and significantly improving patients’ outcomes. We are committed to make our medicines accessible to patients who need them, and believe we can contribute to addressing the larger societal concerns about the cost of health care. We want to be part of the solution.
We are committed to science-based innovation that delivers medicines that transform treatment for patients with devastating diseases around the world – giving them hope, extending survival, and saving lives. The value that transformational medicines can offer to patients and their caregivers, to health care systems, and to society at large is significant. The critical issue is how best to ensure that these medicines are accessible to those who need them, while continuing to foster an environment that encourages companies to take the scientific and financial risks required to sustain the promise of future transformative treatments. Ensuring access to medicines involves more than the companies who discover and develop them – it requires active engagement of payers, governments, health care providers, pharmacies and hospitals.
Our Focus is on Today’s Patients, As Well as Tomorrow’s
Over the last 30 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has made a significant impact on serious diseases. Many of our medicines are breakthroughs that have changed the standard of care and help patients live longer. Our contributions in HIV and HCV mean that many patients will live rather than die from these serious diseases. The death rates from heart disease have plummeted over the last 30 years. When it comes to cancer, we are at the forefront of the fight. New therapies have contributed to a 20% decline in cancer deaths. Today, 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with cancer survive at least 5 years.
These advances, some unimaginable just a few decades ago, are a direct result of innovative medicines, yet, contrary to what many people think, medicines are a relatively small piece of the puzzle when it comes to health care costs. In the U.S., prescription medicines represent approximately 14% of total health care costs.
Still, we understand concerns that our health care system as a whole is too expensive, and we are interested in finding ways to improve our system. We support efforts to make medicines more affordable, from access assistance to innovative ways to address costs more directly. We also believe health care systems need to continue to support meaningful innovation. This requires collaboration between all parties to find sustainable solutions while ensuring patients have access to life-saving medicines. Reducing drug prices will have a marginal effect on health care costs, but will severely impact investment in new treatments. Sustaining investment in innovative platforms is essential to continuing to address serious unmet medical need. This is important, because at Bristol-Myers Squibb, we believe we need to continue to invest in the next generation of medicines, because our focus is not just on today’s patients; it’s also on tomorrow’s.
We are Transforming Treatment for Serious Disease
That focus on tomorrow’s patients drives us to work every day to find new ways to transform treatment for serious disease. Immuno-Oncology therapies are breakthroughs in innovation, truly differentiated medicines that change the standard of care and the way patients live with cancer. For example, in melanoma, prior to the availability of Immuno-Oncology treatment options, 25% of patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma survived 1 year. This increased to 74% with Immuno-Oncology therapies. We are making real progress towards the goal of shifting cancer from a death sentence to a chronic disease that can be managed and controlled.
We are studying our therapies in the broadest number of patients to determine who might benefit and to define the magnitude of benefit, and we are committed to continuing to develop better therapies for patients.
We believe the prices of our medicines should reflect the value they bring to patients, health care providers, payers and society as a whole. The results of how we have contributed to the transformation of the treatment of diseases like HIV, HCV and cancer demonstrate that the model for sustainable innovation is working—which is good news for patients and society.
We are Committed to Helping Patients Get Access to our Medicines
Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to helping patients around the world have access to our medicines. We work with governments, payers, patients, health care providers and other stakeholders around the world to develop sustainable solutions as we provide innovative medicines for patients in need.
In the U.S. we offer one of the most robust patient access programs for cancer patients in the industry through BMS Access Support®. In the event of affordability challenges, we will work to ensure that those who need any of our FDA approved Immuno-Oncology medicines will have access to them.
You can read more about our programs that facilitate access, including Early Patient Access to Investigational Medicines, and help with Understanding Your Coverage for our prescription medicines, Out-of-Pocket-Costs and Patient Assistance.