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Bristol-Myers Squibb Invests $300 Million to Diversify Trials

Bristol-Myers Squibb is investing $300 million to, among other things, address health disparities and increase diversity within clinical trials.

Bristol-Myers Squibb  (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report said Wednesday it is investing $300 million to address health disparities, increase diversity within clinical trials and lift spending with diverse suppliers, while continuing to increase African-American and Hispanic representation.

At last check the New York health-care giant's shares were up nearly 1% to $63.66.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, which is making the investment with its foundation, said it would expand clinical trials into underserved patient communities in urban and rural U.S. locations. 

The company will also train and develop 250 new racially and ethnically diverse clinical investigators. 

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Diversity in clinical trials has been an issue in the pharmaceutical industry. A report by ProPublica found that African-Americans made up less than 5% of the clinical trials for 24 of the cancer drugs approved between 2015 and 2018.

In addition, the company said it would spend $1 billion globally by 2025 with Black/African-American and other diverse-owned businesses to help create jobs and generate positive economic impact in diverse communities.

Bristol-Myers Squibb said it achieved gender parity across its workforce in 2015. By 2022, the company said, it aims to achieve gender parity at the executive level globally; double executive representation of Black/African American employees in the U.S.; and double executive representation of Hispanic/Latino employees in the U.S.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation will provide a 2-to-1 match for U.S. employee donations to organizations that fight health disparities and discrimination.

“The inequalities brought to the surface by covid, together with the social events that have happened over the last few months, we understood it was a turning point,” Giovanni Caforia, chairman and chief executive, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We decided it needed to be a turning point for us as well.”