Volume 8 | Issue 3 | Year 2005

What began as a small-town pharmacy is now a major healthcare player. B. Braun offers a comprehensive selection of superior medical products and value added services to its vast array of customers worldwide. B. Braun is a full line supplier of innovative healthcare products and programs designed to improve both patient and clinician safety.

The B. Braun story begins in 1839 when B. Braun Melsungen was founded by Julius William Braun who opened his pharmacy in Melsungen, Germany. The pharmacy made products such as silver nitrate drops, baking soda, septic pencils and similar items. Actual manufacturing started later by his son, Bernard Braun, and to the medical pharmaceutical products he added medical plasters and migraine treatment products.

The first “sterile” resorbable suture was introduced by Carl Braun. Known as “catgut” this product was never actually made from cats, but rather sheep or beef intestine. During the 1920s, B. Braun grew to about 250 employees and new product lines were added such as I.V. solutions and fracture treatment equipment.

In 1929, the sudden death of Carl Braun led son, Otto, along with his brother Bernd, to manage the family enterprise. Although very young, Otto and Bernd managed B. Braun through the difficult times after World War II and laid the groundwork for what B. Braun Melsungen is today worldwide.

A critical milestone occurred in 1957 when George Burke, Sr., developed one of the first processes in the world for manufacturing plastic disposable syringes and founded Burron Medical Products, Inc. in Bethlehem, Pa. Burron Medical grew considerably over the next few decades and by 1992 its third expansion added an additional 109,000 square feet to its now 309,000-square-foot facility, which eventually changed its name to B. Braun Medica, Inc. in 1992 to better align its global partnership. It also became the company headquarters.

Today, B. Braun is a $2.5 billion healthcare firm with a presence in 25 different countries and 28,000 employees worldwide.

Braun Puerto Rico
In 1974, B. Braun decided to expand into Puerto Rico and established a medical device and tubing sets manufacturing facility in the small town of Sabana Grande. With its name derived from the extensive savannah that occupies this region of the country’s interior southwest, B. Braun Puerto Rico has become the largest manufacturing plant in the area, which is populated by 22,000 people.

B. Braun Puerto Rico has a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and an 80,000-square-foot warehouse. Its 600 employees work in a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant that last year alone invested $3 million in capital monies toward continuous improvements The company produces an amazing 200,000 product sets per day.

B. Braun Puerto Rico specializes in a variety of products for administration of medication to patients. One of its most notable products is a safety infusion system. The Horizon Outlook(r) IV Safety Infusion System is the first I.V. infusion system to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiative to develop a regulation on bar code labeling for human drug products to reduce the number of preventable drug errors in the U.S. The Horizon uses barcode technology to ensure the “right” patient is receiving the “right” drug in the “right” dose from an “authorized” clinician. Its patented DoseScan(tm) barcode technology creates a primary level of safety, with automated checks and balances that augment the manual procedures commonly used today. Secondary protection is provided by DoseGuard(tm) software, which notifies clinicians if institution-defined dose limits are exceeded. The combined technologies help to reduce human error and enable hospitals to provide an unprecedented level of I.V. medication delivery safety for patients.

“Essentially the Horizon helps the right patient receive the right drug at the right dose at the right time. The Horizon is unique and nobody else has this technology,” says Felipe Sandoval, general manager for B. Braun Puerto Rico. “It is the most accurate set available in the market for the administration of medications.”

Another noted product is SAFSITE(r) which is the first system to bring comprehensive needle-free safety to I.V. therapy. Simple to use and compatible with all standard I.V. equipment, SAFSITE protects both patients and healthcare personnel from needlestick injury by nature of its unique design. “The heart of the system is the SAFSITE valve itself, a two-way valve which is opened by an standard leur taper from a syringe or I.V. set and closes automatically when the taper is removed. This device, with its screw connector, significantly reduces the risk of needlestick injury and its valve closes automatically to prevent backflow,” says Sandoval.

B. Braun Puerto Rico also manufactures a broad line of pharmacy products combining innovative design ideas with cost-effective convenience. “Our goal is to make medical handling safer, faster and simpler than ever before with products that address a variety of admixture and transfer applications,” says Sandoval.

Its vascular access products address a wide variety of applications from hemodynamic monitoring to fluid, blood and drug therapy. In addition, Braun’s cardiovascular line includes right heart balloon catheters, angiography and pressure monitoring kits, convenient catheterization kits, catheter introducers, angiography and angioplasty accessories and vena cava filters. Explains Sandoval, many of these products have been developed in response to the specific needs of physicians, technicians and nurses. “With their input, we have discovered new ways to add safety, precision and convenience to even the most routine catheterization procedures.”

Safety First
With human error being at the root of the majority of healthcare mishaps occurring today, safety has become an area in which B. Braun is fully focused. B. Braun is dedicated to helping achieve excellence in safety through its “People, Products, and Programs – Working Together for Excellence in Safety(tm)” initiative.

“We are committed to delivering innovative safety products and programs with unmatched quality, superior technology, and cost-effective solutions, while maintaining environmental responsibility,” says Sandoval.

With a goal toward optimum safety and plans to expand in Puerto Rico with a new plant in Santa Domingo, B. Braun continues to thrive. “Since 1839 our tradition of expertise and progress has set a clear example of excellence in the global marketplace,” says Sandoval. “Our professionalism, integrity, and high level of service are recognized daily by our customers.”

B. Braun continues to set new standards of care through its product development and promoting best practices with the continuous improvement of safety. “As a leading safety company in health care, we believe that our total commitment to achieving excellence in safety is critical to our partner’s success,” says Sandoval. “After 160 years our future is brighter than ever. It is our hope that our rich heritage and mission to continually develop superior medical technology will continue to make a difference throughout the world.”

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