Bristol's Caforio open to deals, but soft on pricing

Dive Brief:

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio toed the industry line on drug pricing in comments given Tuesday during the BIO CEO & Investor conference in New York.
  • "It’s important to remember that [drugs] are a small part of the total healthcare costs and as a percentage of total healthcare, it’s actually not increasing," said Caforio.
  • Caforio emphasized during the conference that Bristol-Myers is confident in its immuno-oncology pipeline and still considers itself a leader in the field, despite last year's setback with Opdivo (nivolumab).

Dive Insight:

"It’s clear that healthcare costs are increasing everywhere around the world. And whether you’re a private payer or government, I believe that every payer is managing increasing healthcare spend," the CEO added.

The view that pharmaceuticals are not a major contributor to the rising cost of healthcare is a stance that pharmaceutical industry groups tried to take early in the debate when the issue became a hot topic in 2015.

This stance was particularly unpopular and has contributed to the bad image of the pharmaceutical industry.

The industry trade group PhRMA has since changed its tune, instead choosing to focus on the value of innovative drugs. The group has put out two — largely unsuccessful — ad campaigns over the past year to help promote this change.

Caforio spoke on several other topics during his chat at the conference, noting that Bristol-Myers Squibb is still confident in its immuno-oncology strategy despite the setback in first-line lung cancer last year.

"We are just at the beginning of understanding the immune system. I believe that this is an area that will rely very heavily on combinations in the future and I also believe that we have an opportunity to guide different patient groups to better combinations."

When asked about dealmaking, Caforio acknowledged Bristol-Myers has not made any large, transformative deals in recent years, but indicated it is open to deals of all sizes. He noted that fibrosis may be a keen therapeutic area of interest.

"Business development is an important part of our strategy and we’ve also said that we are agnostic to size,” said Cafario, who added that any need would need to make “financial sense."

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Filed Under: Mergers and Acquisitions / Deals Corporate News
Top image credit: BioPharma Dive Editor Lisa LaMotta