Wednesday, August 05, 2009

BD and Direct Relief International Team Up to Provide Diabetes Insulin Injection Products for Those in Need

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. and SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and Direct Relief International announced today the launch of a new nationwide program to help people with insulin-dependent diagnosed diabetes who have been affected by the current economic crisis to manage the disease. BD has pledged to donate 5 million insulin syringes and pen needles through Direct Relief to more than 1,000 community health center and free clinic partners nationwide.

"To avoid the debilitating and costly complications of diabetes, patients must effectively manage their conditions," said Linda Tharby, President, BD Medical - Diabetes Care. "Insulin injections often play a vital role in this daily effort, and BD believes that patients who have fallen on tough times should not forego this critical part of their treatment regimen. Direct Relief is a natural partner for BD to help ensure that these patients have access to insulin injection products."

The rise in unemployment has caused many people to lose their health insurance and thus their means to pay for insulin injection products. Direct Relief will work with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) to assist those who are struggling from the current economic crisis.

"Unfortunately, financial hardship may force many people in communities across America to sacrifice their own health to feed their families or keep roofs over their heads," said Direct Relief International President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Tighe. "Direct Relief and BD are combining forces to address these impossible choices for many people with diabetes, by providing a safety net during these difficult times."

In the United States, approximately 18 million people — more than five percent of the population — have diagnosed diabetes. Since the economic crisis began in December 2007, more than 7.2 million Americans have lost their jobs, and 400,000 of these are estimated to have diabetes. Many now lack health insurance and access to affordable medical care, and could be at risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications if they fail to manage their diabetes effectively.

Direct Relief and BD have worked together since 1996, helping people in developing countries and disaster-ravaged areas worldwide by supplying and delivering medical supplies to communities in greatest need.

Products will be available at participating clinics beginning August 10, 2009, subject to availability. For additional information, please visit BD's Web site or call 866-242-3275.

Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a Santa Barbara, California-based nonprofit organization focused on improving quality of life by bringing critically needed medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers worldwide. Direct Relief works in 59 countries, including the United States where it has provided more than $150 million in assistance and is the only nonprofit licensed to provide prescription medicines in all 50 states. It is one of two charities ranked by Forbes that has received a perfect fundraising efficiency score for seven consecutive years and is ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as California's largest international nonprofit organization based on private support.

BD is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The Company is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD'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 28,000 people in approximately 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public.

It's inspiring to see a company step-up in a time of need. By donating $5 million worth of product, BD is aiding those who have a direct and pressing need. Yes, we are in an economic downturn, which seems to me a good reason to get involved. This country, through all its past struggles, continues to see support from businesses. Let's hope that philanthropic attitude continues for generations to come.

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