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Thanks to an innovation, mass vaccination campaigns do less harm while doing good.

A vaccine is only as effective as the device used to administer it. And one of the early obstacles to mass vaccination campaigns in the developing world was a dearth of syringes, which forced health workers to reuse needles, in turn infecting many patients with infectious diseases like hepatitis B, measles, and others.

There are few firms that have done more to change that dynamic than Becton, Dickinson and Company. From 2000 to 2015, BD supplied 6.5 billion next-gen injecting devices which lock up after a single use to improve immunization efforts. And it did so at bargain bin prices, bringing the cost of the one-shot injectors in line with regular syringes at about five cents per device.

Achieving that level of distribution at that price point required a wholesale re-imagining of the med tech giant’s very production process. That kind of thinking has become a hallmark of BD’s work, as former President Bill Clinton acknowledged at a 2014 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, a Clinton Foundation project with which BD has partnered to slash the price of testing HIV-positive people for their CD4 immune cell levels across 55 countries.

The firm has equally ambitious plans for maternal and newborn health for the near future, teaming up with NGOs and the private and public sectors to scale up an experimental device which could make high-risk baby deliveries far safer. Such work in the public interest hasn’t stopped BD from posting revenues of $3.2 billion in Q3 2016, a 2.5% year-over-year gain.

Company Information

Impact Segment
Public Health/Nutrition
Health Care
Medical Products & Equipment
Vincent A. Forlenza
Company Type
Revenues ($M) (Last Fiscal Year)$10,282
Profits ($M) (Last Fiscal Year)$695
Market Value ($M)$37,256