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November 14, 2002
Bristol-Myers Squibb's Videx (ddI) and Zerit (d4T) serve as mainstays for antiretroviral therapy in the West, and have doubtless helped save hundreds of thousands of lives. Unfortunately though, even today, antiretrovirals such as Videx and Zerit are only reaching 5% of all people in need of them. Given the huge resources that went into the development of these drugs, this outcome constitutes a huge societal failure that must be corrected.
I am proud of the leadership role Bristol-Myers Squibb played in the early 1990's in developing Videx and Zerit, and would like to see the company continuing to play a leadership role within the pharmaceutical industry in responding to the AIDS pandemic.
Therefore as the beneficial owner, as defined under Rule 13(d)-3 of the General Rules and Regulations under the Securities Act of 1934, of 500 shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb common stock, I am submitting for inclusion in the next proxy statement, in accordance with Rule 14a-8 of these General Rules, the enclosed shareholder proposal.
As required by Rule 14a-8 I have held these shares for more than one year and will continue to hold the requisite number of shares through the date of the next stockholders' annual meeting. Evidence of ownership is enclosed, and any additional information you may require will be provided upon request. I, or my appointed representative, will be present at the annual meeting to introduce this proposal.
In filing this proposal, I am not advocating the company increase its already fine charitable giving efforts in the AIDS space. Rather, I am advocating the company look more deeply at the AIDS pandemic, and what can be done to resolve it at a more structural level. That is, understanding and working towards changing the rules of the game for all, so that everyone can win. For instance, as far as I know Bristol-Myers Squibb is not an active participant in the search for an AIDS vaccine, nor is it researching microbicides. I think it would be productive to understand why not, and for the company to explore ways in which the pharmaceutical industry could advocate to make these into more profitable opportunities. Equally, I would suggest, exploring issues such as the use of branding and quality assurance to enable low cost generic antiretrovirals to become widely available in the developing world, while preserving the the profits to be made on brand name drugs in the West.
A commitment from Bristol-Myers Squibb to produce and distribute the review requested would allow this proposal to be withdrawn. I believe that this proposal is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.