Becton Dickinson


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BD is a medical technology company that serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, industry and the general public. BD manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. BD is headquartered in the United States and has offices in nearly 50 countries worldwide.

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) (NYSE: BDX), is an American medical technology company that manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD does business in nearly 50 countries and has 29,116 employees worldwide.[2] In fiscal year ending Sep. 30 2009, 60% of BD sales were generated from non-U.S. markets.

The company's customers include healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, industry and the general public. BD was one of the first companies to sell U.S.-made glass syringes. It was also a pioneer in the production of hypodermic needles. Today, BD is divided into three segments: BD Medical, BD Diagnostics and BD Biosciences.[3] In 2009, BD was ranked 347 in the Fortune 500 list.[4]

Historical development


BD was founded in 1897 by Maxwell W. Becton and Fairleigh S. Dickinson, two American businessmen who met on a sales trip. The same year the company made its first sale, a Luer-all-glass syringe that sold for $2.50. In 1898 BD acquired its first patent for a medical product. In 1899 the company introduced its first logo which was meant to symbolize guaranteed superior quality of the products provided by BD. In 1904 BD acquired the Philadelphia Surgical Company. This very first acquisition and other early acquisitions significantly expanded the company’s manufacturing ability and product offering. Two years later BD incorporated in the State of New Jersey and built a manufacturing facility in East Rutherford, the first in the U.S. created specifically for the production of thermometers, hypodermic needles, and syringes. In 1924 BD manufactured its first syringe designed specifically for insulin injection. One year later BD introduced the BD Yale Luer-Lok Syringe, designed and patented by Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Sr. It provided a simple and secure method of attaching and removing the needle to and from the syringe. Today, luer lock connectors are the standard for syringes in the U.S. In 1947 Joseph Kleiner developed the Evacutainer — a device used to draw blood by vacuum through a needle into a test tube. This product eventually evolved to become the BD Vacutainer Blood Collection system.[5]



In 1948 BD faced new leadership as Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr. and Henry P. Becton, sons of the founders, took over the company. Their 24-year tenure was a time of rapid development for BD. The company grew within the U.S. as well as internationally. In 1949 it opened its first manufacturing site outside of New Jersey in Columbus, Nebraska. In 1961 it established a manufacturing facility in Canaan, Connecticut. BD also soon expanded to Canada (1951), Mexico (1952), France (1955), and Brazil (1956). The tenure of Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr. and Henry P. Becton was also a time of significant product innovation. In 1950 BD's first sterile disposable product, a blood collection set, was developed and sold to the American Red Cross. In 1954 BD introduced the first completely disposable syringe made of glass: BD Hypak. This innovative product was used in a large-scale field test of the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. One year later, BD entered the microbiology field through the acquisition of the Baltimore Biological Laboratory. In 1961 the company introduced its disposable BD Plastipak syringe. Under the new leadership the company also went public (1962) and was appeared for the first time in the Fortune 500 list (1970).[5]


In 1973 BD added another U.S. facility —a research center in Triangle Park, North Carolina. The center was established to help the company meet United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements, research improved manufacturing and process methods, and develop future innovative technologies. In 1975 BD Pharmaceutical Systems Europe acquired an important patent for a prefilled syringe injecting heparin. In 1980 BD developed its first automated system for mycobacteria testing, the BD BACTEC 460TB System. The next year brought significant signs of the company’s development as sales surpassed the $1 billion milestone and a new plant in Plymouth, England was constructed to serve the European markets. Five years later BD moved its corporate headquarters to Franklin Lakes, New Jersey (current HQ location.) Also in 1986, BD acquired Fabersanitas Industrial, a major Spanish syringe manufacturer as well as Deseret Medical, a vascular access devices manufacturer. The last three years of the 1980s also showed growth in Asia (manufacturing facilities in Singapore and Japan.) Furthermore, BD became the first company to introduce a safety-engineered syringe — BD Safety-Lok (1988) and acquired the Beaver Blade Company, a manufacturer of high-quality surgical blades. The first half of the next decade was very important to BD’s development. The company opened a central distribution center in Temse, Belgium (1992) and entered India and China (1995.) BD also introduced a device that offered needle stick protection following blood-drawing procedures — BD Vacutainer Safety-Lok Blood Collection Set.[5]


In 1999, as BD passed more than 100 years of presence in the medical devices industry, BD announced its new corporate identity. Numerous independent brand names were replaced by a single name: BD. In addition, the company symbol that is used today was introduced. BD also named Edward J. Ludwig as the company’s president. Ludwig was also named Chief Executive Officer (2000) and Chairman of the Board of Directors (2002.) During that time BD also got heavily involved in global health issues announcing a five-year maternal and neonatal tetanus world-wide elimination partnership with UNICEF (1999), launching the BD Safety Compliance Initiative (2000), and pledging $1 million contribution to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (2002.) In 2003 and 2004 BD introduced several innovative products: BD FACSAria Cell Sorterthe — first entirely new instrument in the next-generation portfolio of flow cytometers (2003), BD Accuspray — a nasal drug delivery system for administering vaccines (2003), — a patient identification system designed to limit the potential for medical errors in specimen collection (2003), and the world's first "intelligent" insulin pump and glucose monitoring system, a wireless system consisting of a Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm® 512 Insulin Pump and Paradigm Link™ Blood Glucose Monitor, co-developed with BD. In the beginning of the 21st century BD also invested in growing its business by acquiring several strategically important companies. In 2001 it acquired the Gentest Corporation, a leading in drug metabolism and toxicology testing company. In 2004 BD completed the acquisition of Atto Bioscience Acquired, a company specializing in optical instrumentation, software, and reagents for real-time analysis of interactions taking place in living cells. In 2005 BD entered the field of proteomics through its acquisition of FFE Weber GmbH, which specialized in the separation and fractionation of complex proteins. 2006 was also important to BD growth as the company acquired GeneOhm Sciences — a leader in the development of molecular diagnostic testing for the rapid detection of bacterial organisms and TriPath Imaging —a cancer diagnostics company.[5]

Business segments

Becton Dickinson is divided into three business segments: BD Medical (52% of FY 09 revenues) BD Diagnostics (31% of FY 09 revenues), and BD Biosciences (17% of FY 09 revenues.)[1]

BD Medical

The BD Medical segment consists of four divisions: Medical Surgical Systems, Pharmaceutical Systems, Diabetes Care, and Ophthalmic Systems. The products of this segment include: needles and syringes, intravenous catheters, safety-engineered and auto-disable devices, prefillable drug delivery systems, prefilled IV flush syringes, insulin syringes and pen needles, regional anesthesia needles and trays, surgical blades and scalpels, ophthalmic surgical instruments, and critical care products. This segment primarily sales to: hospitals and clinics, physicians' office practices, consumers and retail pharmacies, governmental and nonprofit public health agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare workers.[1]

BD Diagnostics

BD Diagnostics is divided into Preanalytical Systems and Diagnostic Systems. BD Diagnostics specializes in the design, production and sales of the following products: integrated systems for specimen collection, safety-engineered blood collection products and systems, automated blood culturing systems, molecular testing systems for sexually transmitted diseases and HAIs, microorganism identification and drug susceptibility systems, liquid-based cytology systems for cervical cancer screening, rapid diagnostic assays, and plated media. Customers of this division include: hospitals, laboratories and clinics, reference laboratories, blood banks, healthcare workers, public health agencies, physicians’ office practices, and industrial and food microbiology laboratories.[1]

[edit] BD Biosciences

BD Biosciences consists of the Cell Analysis and Discovery Labware units. BD Biosciences designs, manufactures, and sells: fluorescence-activated cell sorters and analyzers, monoclonal antibodies and kits for cell analysis, reagent systems for life science research, cell imaging systems, laboratory products for tissue culture and fluid handling, and cell culture media supplements for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. BD Biosciences serves the following customers: research and clinical laboratories, academic and government institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, hospitals, and blood banks.[1]

Social responsibility

As a large global company in the healthcare industry, BD has the potential to affect the health and life of many people around the world.

Philanthropic and charitable efforts

BD has actively donated cash, product and expertise to non-profit and educational organizations worldwide. In recent years, it formed philanthropic and charitable partnerships with the following organizations: UNICEF,[6] American Red Cross,[7] U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,[8] Stop TB Partnership,[9] Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria,[10] Americares,[11] International AIDS Vaccine Initiative,[12] Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics,[13] Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation,[14] Project Hope,[15] Direct Relief International[16] Accordia Global Health Fundation,[17] Columbia University,[18] and University of Virginia.[19]

Environmental tack record

As of February 2010, BD was ranked 18th in the EPA Fortune 500 List of Green Power Purchasers.[20] BD was also listed among the top 100 companies in Newsweek’s 2009 Green Rankings[21] ranking of the 500 largest Ameircan corporations based on environmental performance, policies and reputation. BD placed third in the Healthcare sector and 83rd overall.[22] In addition, BD has been a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the four and five consecutive years, respectively.[23][24]

2007 Discardit II incident in Poland

In mid-2007, the firm's Discardit II series of syringes numbered 0607186 was withdrawn from hospitals and other medical services around Poland, about half a year after the discovery of remains of dark dust in some syringes which were alleged to have been from this series.[25] The newspaper Dziennik Online claimed that other series such as 06022444, 0603266 and 0607297 were also suspected of being contaminated. BD recalled and tested the syringes in question, and revealed sterile particulates in 0.013 percent of the products.[26] Legal proceedings related to the incident started in December 2006.[25] According to an article published in Dziennik on Monday, 21 April 2008, the prosecutor’s office in Lublin discontinued the inquiry because the disposable syringes were not dangerous.

2010 Q-Syte Luer and IV Catheter partial recall

In February 2010 BD announced a voluntary product recall of certain lots of BD Q-Syte Luer Access Devices and BD Nexiva Closed IV Catheter Systems. BD stated that the use of the affected devices may cause an air embolism or leakage of blood and/or therapy, which may result in serious injury or death. The approximately 2.8 million BD Q-Syte and 2.9 million BD Nexiva units containing 5 million BD Q-Syte devices that were recalled were distributed in the United States, Asia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, South Africa and South America. The recall was initiated on Oct. 28, 2009 after BD received complaints of problems due to air entry through a part of the device. BD stated that the cause of the problem was manufacturing deviation and claimed that it corrected the problem. BD announced that it notified customers about the recall by letter and has been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and worldwide health agencies to coordinate recall activities.[27][28]

Controvery Over Alleged Monopolistic Practices

"Dirty Medicine," a July 2010 article in Washington Monthly claimed that Becton Dickinson uses its near-monopolistic "grip on hospitals" via control of GPOs (group purchasing associations formed to pool purchasing by healthcare organizations) to prevent the adoption of technology sold by its competitors, driving up medical costs and suppressing innovation. The article chronicles the development of a significantly safer syringe by Retractable Technologies and alleged attempts by Becton Dickinson to prevent Health Care Organizations from buying the product in favor of less-acceptable syringes sold by BD.[29]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "BD 2009 Annual Report". 
  2. ^ "Google Finance:BDX". 
  3. ^ Becton, Dickinson and Co Stock Report, Standard & Poor's, January 30, 2010
  4. ^ "CNN Money Fortune 500 list". 
  5. ^ a b irritable bowel syndrome c d "BD Milestones". 
  6. ^ "BD Press Release". 
  7. ^ "The Free Library, Press Release". 
  8. ^ "PEPFAR Press Release". 
  9. ^ "Stop TB Partnership Partner’s Profile". 
  10. ^ "Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Partner Profile". 
  11. ^ "Americares Press Release". 
  12. ^ "International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Press Release". 
  13. ^ "Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics Press Release". 
  14. ^ "JDRF Press Release". 
  15. ^ "Project Hope Partnership Information". 
  16. ^ "Direct Relief International Partner Profile". 
  17. ^ "Accordia Global Health Foundation Newsletter". 
  18. ^ "CU Corporate Partnerships". 
  19. ^ "UVA News". 
  20. ^ "Green Power Purchasers Fortune 500 List". 
  21. ^ "Newsweek, Greenest Big Companies in America – The 2009 List". 
  22. ^ "Newsweek, Green Ranking 2009 - Becton Dickinson". 
  23. ^ "Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes". 
  24. ^ "BD Press Release". 
  25. ^ a b Kraskowski, Leszek (2007-08-01). "For over half a year, hospitals used tainted syringes" (in Polish). Dziennik Online. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  26. ^ "Reuters: Becton Dickinson expands syringe recall in Poland". 
  27. ^ "Reuters: Becton Dickinson recalls intravenous devices". 
  28. ^ "BD Press Release". 
  29. ^ Blake, Mariah. "Dirty Medicine". Retrieved 27 July 2010. 

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