This week, Fortune identified the top U.S. companies that are making a positive impact through initiatives that address societal needs while also driving business objectives. For the third time in five years, BD has been named to Fortune’s “Change the World” list. Previously, the company was selected in 2015 for its investments, innovations and successes in advancing safety for health workers; and in 2016 for BD’s global health programs and impact in areas including childhood immunization safety, strengthening laboratory systems and innovation to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. This year, the company has been recognized for its significant global efforts and investments to combat antimicrobial resistance.
What is AMR?
- Antimicrobials are life-saving drugs that kill infectious bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when these drugs, which are commonly used to treat infections, stop working because the organism becomes resistant to the drug.
- AMR is projected to result in 10 million deaths by the year 2050, making it among the leading causes of death, greater than cancer. 1
To slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance and to help ensure that the right drug is delivered to the right patient at the right time, a multifaceted approach to AMR is needed. Appropriate use of medical technology can help to reduce spread of infections in health care facilities, while diagnostic testing can enable the cause of infections to be more precisely identified, supporting effective treatment decisions.
Three years ago, BD mobilized a company-wide AMR strategy team which is presently comprised of 40 employees from across the company’s businesses, countries and corporate functions. This team helps to align and execute the various components of the company’s AMR strategy, as follows:
One of the most important steps to curbing the spread of antimicrobial resistance is to curb infections, as resistant infections spread easily among patients in health care facilities. This makes it imperative for hospitals to implement effective infection prevention and control programs.
BD offers training programs for customers centered around its products and solutions that are often used in environments where health care associated infections (HAIs) are common (i.e., vascular access procedures, general surgery and urinary drainage procedures). In addition to deploying these programs at an individual health facility level, BD has worked in collaboration with national governments in multiple countries, including the U.S., China, Kenya, Cambodia and India, via public-private partnerships to improve infection prevention and control capabilities in hospitals.
Diagnostics play a key role in identifying the type of infection (bacterial vs. viral) and whether it is resistant to antibiotics. This helps ensure the right drug is prescribed and that antibiotics are not prescribed for infections where they are inappropriate or unnecessary, such as viral infections.
For over a decade, BD has partnered with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. CDC to advance the capacity and capabilities of labs in Africa and India to diagnose infectious disease. The program, Labs for Life, has been acclaimed as being among the most successful public-private partnerships, and includes improving the diagnosis of the resistant form of tuberculosis (TB), which is presently associated with approximately one-third of the 700,000 annual deaths presently attributed to AMR worldwide.
BD is also engaged in a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen lab testing capacity for TB, with the goal of increasing the presently low levels of second-line drug susceptibility testing in 10 high TB-burden countries, including India and Indonesia.
Additionally, in 2019, BD partnered with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on AMR and diagnostics. Launch of this new educational program will begin in select countries in the coming months.
Surveillance and reporting
Control of AMR requires surveillance to ensure that the appropriate therapy is provided to patients. Surveillance tools can help identify patients at greatest risk of contracting a resistant infection by incorporating information from a variety of sources as part of routine care. The near real‐time availability of data allows clinicians to make more targeted decisions to optimize the use of antibiotics.
In addition, surveillance tools can be used to create an early warning system to detect infections before an outbreak occurs, so that action can be taken to prevent or gain rapid control of an outbreak. Electronic surveillance systems enable healthcare facilities to transmit data to public health authorities in order to monitor local, regional and national trends.
By providing hospitals with surveillance tools, BD helps clinicians identify and report healthcare associated infections, and assess AMR risks within their facilities.
BD is engaging directly with countries around the world to support infection prevention and control programs in hospitals and to advance laboratory practices, tailoring its approach to the stage of development of each country and the level of sophistication among hospitals in being able to combat AMR.
Based on the fundamental premise that a challenge and threat as large and encompassing as AMR cannot ever be addressed by one sector alone, BD has engaged in extensive cross-sector collaboration with leading health agencies, foundations and other organizations around the world, underpinned by common motives and goals.
For more information about the company’s position on AMR, visit http://amr.bd.com/ and stay tuned to the BD Blog for a deeper look at BD’s AMR strategy.