A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Healthcare giant Bayer (Pittsburgh) reported that it is preparing to ship more than 45,000 Ascensia BRIO blood glucose monitors and Ascensia EasyFill test strips to help meet the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims with diabetes. Bayer will donate these products for monitoring blood glucose levels to the American Red Cross.

Bayer is one of dozens of medical device, pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers that have reported donations or the establishment of funding efforts to aid in the relief effort, and the company said the it is now doubling its initial commitment, announced last week – together with the Bayer Foundation – of $2 million.

The first 1,000 blood glucose monitors and test strips will be shipped, at the request of a local American Red Cross chapter, to help in the treatment of those with diabetes who have sought refuge in the Houston region, including Baytown, Texas.

“We all feel very deeply for everyone affected by Hurricane Katrina,” said Dr. Attila Molnar, president and CEO of Bayer. “Clearly, the human impact from the hurricane is much larger than anyone anticipated. And we also know that the plight of people with diabetes must be especially difficult in the middle of this disaster, and we are very gratified to be able to help meet their diabetes management needs.”

Among others making donations to the relief effort:

The volunteers and staff of the American Cancer Society (Atlanta), the American Diabetes Association (Ar-lington, Virginia) and the American Heart Association (AHA; Dallas) reported that they would jointly contribute $1 million to the Bush/Clinton Katrina Fund.

Baxter Healthcare (Deerfield, Illinois), through its charitable foundation, reported that it is donating $1 million toward the relief. The Baxter International Foundation also will be matching qualifying contributions by Baxter employees, two-to-one.

Baxter said it has been assessing the needs of its customers, relief agencies and health authorities in the affected region and working to get them necessary supplies. It also said it has been in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, state departments of health, AmeriCares and the American Red Cross to determine additional need for its products.

BD (Becton Dickinson; Franklin Lakes, New Jersey) said that it is donating $500,000 in relief efforts. It said that the donation would be split equally between the American Red Cross and the United Way Hurricane Response Fund. BD serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers and clinical laboratories, among others.

Novo Nordisk (Princeton, New Jersey), which focuses on diabetes care, said it is donating $1 million in addition to providing insulin products and advanced delivery devices to help relief efforts. The company has designated one-half of the monetary donation to provide immediate care for people with diabetes, with the remainder of the funds to be donated to the American Red Cross.

Quest Diagnostics (Lyndhurst, New Jersey), a provider of diagnostic testing services, has pledged $50,000 to the American Red Cross. Quest employees have established a special relief fund, which the company will match up to $200,000.

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