In a statement released yesterday, Bristol-Myers Squibb chairman and CEO Giovanni Caforio has been named chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) board of directors. He succeeds Oliver Brandicourt, who recently retired from his position as Sanofi’s CEO.
I am excited to welcome Giovanni Caforio, CEO of @bmsnews, as @PhRMA's new board chairman. Giovanni's proven record of leadership and his commitment to improving patient access and affordability will help us advance reforms that lower out-of-pockets costs: https://t.co/8USaE4F6uq
— Stephen J. Ubl (@steveubl) September 4, 2019
Caforio will take the helm of America’s most influential pharmaceutical lobbying group, which has been particularly vocal about the White House’s activities in regulating drug pricing and drug importation. The trade group previously defended pharmaceutical companies (Bristol-Myers Squibb, among them) when it came to inflated drug pricing, instead blaming pharmacy benefit managers who they say encourage price increases to fill their own pockets. More recently, PhRMA called the Trump administration’s plan to legally import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada “far too dangerous for American patients.”
Caforio was instrumental in the epic merger between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene, first announced at the start of 2019. The deal missed its original Q3 wrap, following negotiations over the sale of Celgene’s blockbuster psoriasis drug, Otezla. In the latest update, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that Amgen will have global rights to Otezla, a deal that’s contingent on a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission in connection with the merger.
With his new influential post at PhRMA, Caforio’s take on drug pricing will likely come into sharp focus. While uncertain of how the White House will fight drug prices, he told analysts that the Celgene buy will increase product diversity, lead to growth opportunities and “fortify” Bristol-Myers Squibb’s position. In other words, whatever the White House decides, the pharma company will hopefully emerge unscathed.
PhRMA appears to be in promising hands, given Caforio’s long tenure at Bristol-Myers Squibb and nearly a decade’s worth of international experience.
“The progress of the biopharmaceutical industry has been made possible by passionate, talented and dedicated people who have one united goal – delivering innovative medicines to patients,” said Caforio. “Our commitment includes making sure patients have affordable options and can access these medicines when they need them. As PhRMA Board Chair, I will advocate for policy solutions that ensure all patients can fully benefit from today’s historic era in biomedical innovation.”
Caforio previously served as PhRMA’s treasurer and chairman-elect.