Daniels Sharpsmart, a rival to Becton Dickinson & Co. (NYSE:BDX) in the sharps disposal market, wants a federal judge in Chicago to force BD to retract a study allegedly linking reusable sharps disposal units with higher rates of a deadly superbug infection.
Daniels alleges that BD commissioned an outside professional to run a survey of hospitals designed to connect reusable sharps containers – a market Daniels claimed to dominate – with higher rates of Clostridum difficile infections.
“This professional sampled hospitals and inquired about 1 thing: The specific containers (disposables or reusables) that they used. That is it. And based on this limited data, after applying them to known existing data regarding the hospitals’ respective rates of C. diff, BD caused an article titled ‘The Relationship between Different Types of Sharps Containers and C. difficile Infection Rates in Acute Care Hospitals’ to be published in the American Journal of Infection Control,” Daniels alleged in the lawsuit. “By its title alone, the article suggests that a relationship between the use of specific sharps containers (reusables) and the spread of C. diff in fact exists, when in reality C. diff spreads because of myriad reasons, such as wet, dirty, or improperly sanitized sharps containers (user error). None of those reasons has ever been independently linked to the specific type of sharps container used alone.”
“So despite there being no evidence whatsoever showing a link between reusable sharps containers and C. diff, BD’s funded study concludes as much. And this was all in an effort to deceptively market its own product – disposable sharps containers,” the lawsuit alleged. “As with any competitive industry, there is a right way to compete, and there is a wrong one. BD chose the latter.”
Daniels wants a judge in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois to compel BD to retract “the false ‘independent study'” and force it to “make disclosures that specifically disclaim that the study does not in any way relate to or implicate Daniels specifically – or demonstrate any concrete link between reusables and C. diff generally – and, enjoins BD from utilizing its ‘independent study’ for any competitive purpose whatsoever.”
Daniels is also seeking an unspecified amount of damages and a jury trial, according to its complaint.