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BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company)

Company Overview

BD, a leading global medical technology company that manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents, is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug therapy, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases, and advancing research and discovery of new drugs and vaccines. The Company's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 27,000 people in approximately 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, industry and the general public.

HIV/AIDS Profile

For more than a century, BD has been at the forefront of major initiatives impacting public health.  The company pioneered the development of sterilization technology for medical devices, and provided the first mass-produced sterile disposable syringes at no profit to Dr. Jonas Salk for nationwide polio vaccination in 1954.  More recently, BD has established partnerships with a series of public agencies to address fundamental health issues facing the world today, including:

  • Support of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in its quest for a safe, effective and accessible HIV/AIDS vaccine.  BD pledged $1 million and donated its advanced BD FACSCaliburTM Automated Cell Analysis System to help monitor immune response to promising vaccines as they are being developed and tested.
  • Partnership with Project Hope to address the explosive growth of diabetes in China, working with China's Ministry of Health, focusing on education and nutrition.
  • Collaboration with the federal and state governments in the U.S., and other governments throughout the world, on defense against bioterror threats. Through this initiative, BD has supplied bifurcated needles to several governments for the delivery of the smallpox vaccine, and is developing advanced vaccine delivery devices on behalf of USAMRIID for use by the U.S. military.
  • Partnership with UNICEF for eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) throughout the world. MNT takes the lives of over 200,000 newborns and 30,000 mothers annually in the 57 countries where it remains a threat.  BD has pledged over $15 million, including 135 million safe immunization devices, to this effort.
  • Collaboration with the American Red Cross for measles immunization in Africa.  Measles kills over one million children per year, half in Africa alone.  BD is supporting an intensive program to raise awareness locally and to teach health care providers to inject the vaccine correctly using safe immunization devices.

Addressing the Spread of HIV/AIDS From Unsafe Medical Practice

For over a decade, BD has devoted its resources and efforts to addressing the spread of HIV/AIDS from unsafe medical practice, working closely with international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO).  Reports from WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that as many as 40 percent of all injections in the developing world are administered with reused medical devices.  This means that the fundamental delivery of health care in many areas of the world is also a significant contributor to the spread of infectious and often deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Conservative estimates indicate that in the year 2000 alone, contaminated injections caused an estimated 260,000 new HIV infections, 21 million hepatitis B infections and two million hepatitis C infections. Research recently published in the International Journal of STD and AIDS argued that up to half of all new HIV infections in the developing world might be a result of unsafe injections.  Although official WHO estimates are far lower than this, a recent WHO report (dated December 19, 2002) indicates that between eight and 45 percent of HIV/AIDS infections in sub-Saharan Africa can be attributed to contaminated needles.  Even at the most conservative estimate, the conclusion is clear; unsafe injections are among the leading causes of HIV/AIDS spread in Africa.  (This issue received national attention in an Associated Press article written by Jeffrey McMurray.)

The issue of HIV/AIDS and other disease spread through unsafe injections can be addressed.  Working with WHO and other public health agencies, BD and other medical device manufacturers have developed reliable, low-cost, auto-disable injection devices with features that physically prevent reuse by locking the syringe after a single use.  These devices are already in widespread use for mass immunization programs, but this represents only about ten percent of all injections given in Africa.  There is an urgent need to expand the use of these devices to the remaining 90% of injections.

BD is already investing to extend reuse prevention technology to a broad array of general-purpose syringes.  These devices are designed specifically to address the needs of the developing world and are highly cost-effective (less than six cents each).  For an annual cost of approximately $100 million, less than 1% of the total HIV/AIDS appropriation, the entire continent of Africa can be supplied with safe reuse prevention devices, effectively addressing one of the leading causes of HIV/AIDS and other disease spread.

It is imperative that unsafe medical practice not be overlooked as decisions are made to appropriate the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.  If this issue is not addressed, there is a high likelihood that the spread of HIV/AIDS will continue in Africa even after other prevention and treatment programs are implemented.  The very same people in Africa who benefit from other prevention programs will be subject to continuing risk from contaminated injections.  This action is affordable, measurable and can be implemented utilizing low-cost technology developed in the U.S. specifically to prevent disease spread in the developing world.

BD looks forward to the day when people in Africa and other developing areas can access health care without fear of contracting HIV/AIDS or other deadly diseases from the delivery of such care.

BD Airport Adverts Attract Attention for the Fight Against AIDS
From Januray to February, 2007, at Zurich Airport in Switzerland, BD's partnership ads with GBC wee displayed in the form of large, back-lit dioramas.

Zurich Airport is an international hub that is the key entry point for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. As a result, the Trusted Partners campaign was seen by some of the world's most influential leaders on global policy. While the Conference has now ended, the campaign will remain posted until the end of February (possibly longer), and will be seen by 12 million visitors during its run.

Tuberculosis Profile

BD has responded to the needs of those affected by TB by focusing our efforts in four key areas: increasing access to critical technologies, building healthcare capacity, investing in new technologies and volunteerism and philanthropy. BD collaborates with both the private and public sector to create sustainable programs that effectively address this disease.

BD developed an improved TB culture method, the Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (BD MGITTM) system, which provides diagnostic results within 10 to 14 days. (Traditional culture methods take as long as 40-50 days to yield a result.) Rapid culture and drug susceptibility testing is more important that ever in the face of increasing multi-drug resistance (MDR-TB) and even extensive drug resistance (XDR-TB), which is virtually untreatable.

BD entered into an agreement with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) to improve diagnosis of TB, especially in HIV positive patients. This collaboration established demonstration sites in Africa, Eastern Europe, Brazil and Asia to introduce advanced culture technology at the district hospital level.

In 2006 BD formed a new TB Core Team with the primary focus of identifying new technologies to improve TB diagnostics. BD is also an Organizational Partner of the Stop TB Partnership, a function of the World Health Organization.

Malaria Profile

BD has responded to the needs of those affected by diseases such as HIV/AIDS and TB by focusing its efforts in four key areas: increasing access to critical technologies, building healthcare capacity in developing countries, investing in new technologies and volunteerism and philanthropy. Within each of these areas BD has collaborated with both the private and public sector to create sustainable programs that effectively address these diseases.

BD is now applying these same efforts to fighting malaria, by investing in a new rapid diagnostic test to detect the most deadly strain, Malaria falciparum. This test is currently undergoing clinical trials in Uganda. The Company is also planning to collaborate on a study with the Millennium Villages Project in Rwanda to determine the best use of diagnostic technology in an overall national malaria program. An important first step in building health systems capacity in Africa is increasing access to basic diagnosis. Diagnostic testing is used as a quality control to know when drugs should be administered and whether they are working. The absence of diagnostics can lead to the inappropriate provision of medications, which, in turn, can lead to drug resistance. With resistance to malaria drugs increasing, BD is committed to improving the state of malaria diagnostics.

Women & Girls Profile

Together For Girls

In September 2009, Gary Cohen (Executive Vice President) and partner organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNIFEM, the Nduna Foundation and Grupo ABC launched a new partnership to address sexual violence against girls.This initiative was announced by former President William J. Clinton at the Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

This partnership was formed in recognition of the data indicating that sexual violence against girls in developing and emerging countries is a fundamental violation of the human rights of children, and a ‘lynch pin’ issue contributing to spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, birth of orphaned babies, maternal mortality, depression, substance abuse and chronic diseases.  It also contributes to girls ceasing their education due to the devastation and shame of being sexually violated, abused or raped, and in turn, this impacts the economic development of societies.

This partnership is now named “Together for Girls – we can end sexual violence.”  In the year since Together for Girls was launched, significant progress has been made in advancing its goals.  The partnership has activities underway or planned in four countries – Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe – with plans to expand to additional countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America in the coming years.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Alliance

An innovative partnership to leverage public and private investment in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer — two of the leading causes of cancer death in women - in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand the availability of vital cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast care education—especially for women most at risk of getting cervical cancer in developing nations because they are HIV-positive.

With initial commitments of $75 million across five years, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand to achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce deaths from cervical cancer by an estimated 25% among women screened and treated through the initiative;
  • Significantly increase access to breast and cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment; and
  • Create innovative models that can be scaled up and used globally.

A handful of corporate partners are founding members in the initiative, including GBCHealth members, Becton Dickinson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck.