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BMS pledges $300m to tackle health inequity and improve diversity

Drugmaker announces a series of commitments to expand inclusion

BMS

Bristol Myers Squibb will commit £300m over the next five years towards tackling health disparities and increasing diversity in its own clinical trials and hiring practices.

The investment will be used to raise disease awareness and education, increase healthcare access and improve health outcomes for medically underserved populations. This includes strengthening programmes for people who cannot afford their medicines in the US.

In addition, the BMS Foundation will commit to increasing clinical trial diversity by building infrastructure in diverse communities and high disease burden areas in the US, and also bolster the diversity of trial investigators through a fellowship programme over the next five years.

In a statement, BMS said that in recent months the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the severity of social and health disparities in the US that increase the risk of infection and poorer health outcomes for Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino communities.

The drugmaker will also expand its supplier diversity programme, with plans to commit $1bn globally towards minority-owned businesses by 2025. Internally, BMS will expand the diversity of its workforce and leadership, and aims to achieve double executive representation of Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino employees in the US by 2022.

“Now more than ever, we recognise the urgent need to do more to address serious gaps in care among the underserved in communities around the world,” said Giovanni Caforio, chairman and chief executive officer of BMS.

“This commitment reflects our belief that investments toward achieving health equity and increasing diversity and inclusion are opportunities to advance our vision of transforming patients’ lives through science,” he added.

Civil rights protests in the US following the death of George Floyd in May have sparked a number of responses from large companies seeking to improve their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Earlier this month, Alexion Pharmaceuticals appointed its first chief diversity officer, with Uzair Qadeer taking on the role after serving as head of enterprise partnerships at the company.

Gilead also recently announced that it would be donating an initial $1m to an initiative with Morehouse School of Medicine to gather data on demographic disparities within health.

The company is aiming to create a tool that will use COVID-19 data to identify geographic areas impacted during the pandemic, with the goal of uncovering and mapping health inequities which could encourage evidence-based public policy changes.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

13th August 2020

From: Marketing

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