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BD and Direct Relief International Team Up to Provide Free Diabetes Insulin Injection Products to Americans Impacted by the Economic Downturn

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. and SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) 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.(1) 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.(1,2) 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.(3)

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 or call 866-242-3275.

About Direct Relief International

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. For more information, please visit

About BD

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. For more information, please visit" target="_new">

About the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC)

NACHC was founded in 1971 for the purpose of promoting the provision of high quality, comprehensive and affordable primary and preventive care that is coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, and community directed for medically underserved populations. Community Health Centers serve 18 million people at more than 7,000 sites located throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories. NACHC works with the affiliated State/Regional Primary Care Associations to serve Community Health Centers in a variety of ways, including providing research and advocacy, education of the public about the mission and value of health centers, training and technical assistance for Health Center staff and boards and development of alliances with private partners and key stakeholders to foster the delivery of healthcare to communities in need. For more information, please visit

About the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC)

NAFC is the only national nonprofit whose mission is solely focused on the needs of free clinics and the populations they serve. Founded in 2001 by Free Clinic leaders from across the country, the NAFC supports community-based, nonprofit, volunteer-supported Free Clinics serving the uninsured and underinsured. The leadership of the NAFC focuses on bringing advocacy, networking, and needed resources to free clinics to help them face their many challenges. The NAFC estimates that Free Clinics raise over $300 million per year in private funds, which are used to provide care for approximately 3.5 million uninsured and underinsured patients, and generate $3 billion in health care services. For more information, please visit

(1) American Diabetes Association

(2) Bureau of Labor Statistics

(3) American Diabetes Association

SOURCE BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company)
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