/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 www.bd.com/diabetesdonation or call 866-242-3275.
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