C.R. Bard Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on C.R. Bard Inc.

730 Central Avenue
Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974

History of C.R. Bard Inc.

C.R. Bard Inc. is a developer and manufacturer of surgical and medical instruments, including cardiovascular and urological equipment and general health care products. Bard markets these products worldwide to hospitals, extended care facilities, and home care professionals. A pioneer in the health care industry, Bard developed presterilized instruments and the concept of complete sterilized disposable surgical trays. The company was also a pioneer in angioplasty, a technique using a tiny balloon to unclog arteries so that more blood may be pumped to the heart.

C.R. Bard Inc. was founded by Charles Russell Bard, an American importer of French silks as well as the exclusive distributor of a nineteenth-century European medicine purported to relieve urinary discomfort. In 1907 Bard began distributing a recently invented uretal catheter for a French firm, J. Eynard, his European connections enabling him to market the catheter in the United States. Bard's involvement with medical products expanded in 1915 when he became partners with Morgan Parker, who had invented a new scalpel. Parker provided the patents, Bard provided office space and $500, and Bard-Parker Co. Inc. was begun.

During World War I, imported scalpels became scarce, and demand for the Bard-Parker scalpel soared. After the war, however, Bard and Parker disagreed over manufacture of the scalpel. While Parker wanted the company to manufacture the instrument, Bard wanted to continue to subcontract for manufacture with a company in Ohio. The two partners could not resolve their differences, and in 1923 Parker bought out Bard's interest in the partnership for $23,000. Bard-Parker later became a division of Becton Dickinson & Company, a medical instruments manufacturer.

Bard formally incorporated as C.R. Bard in 1923, continuing to distribute Eynard catheters and other urological devices. His health failing, however, Bard hired John Frederick Willits as his sales manager. Willits, a former sales manager for a medical book publisher, understood that Bard would eventually turn over the business to him.

Bard kept his word and sold the business to Willits and accountant Edson L. Outwin in 1926 for $18,000. Willits, the older of the two men, became president of the company, and Outwin became vice-president and treasurer. Although Willits and Outwin borrowed the money to buy C.R. Bard, within a year, they were able to repay the loan with profits from the company. Bard became a company consultant until his retirement in 1932. He died in 1934.

Outwin, Willits, and James Vassar, the company's first full-time salesperson, hired by Bard in 1923, visited their sales regions twice a year and were on the road for 12 to 14 weeks at a time. Willits covered the West Coast, Outwin the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, and Vassar the rest of the United States and part of Canada. In 1929, the company added another sales representative, Willits' son Harris, to cover the upper Midwest, New York, and Canada. During this time, the four men sold the company's line of urological instruments directly to practicing urologists.

In 1934, Dr. Hobart Belknap, an Oregon doctor and Bard customer, published an article in the Urological Cutaneous Review presenting his idea for a balloon-type instrument to control secondary bleeding in cases in which no suprapubic opening existed. Davol Rubber Co. of Providence, Rhode Island, developed a device based on Belknap's idea. During this time, American Anode, a division of B.F. Goodrich of Akron, Ohio, also developed devices based on Belknap's idea for Dr. Frederick E. B. Foley of St. Paul, Minnesota. Extensive litigation ensued for the patent for the device, until Davol and Goodrich agreed to cross-license each other's product. The generic name for the instrument became the Foley catheter. Since Bard was already the exclusive distributor of Davol's other catheters, it also began distributing the Foley catheters. Sales of Foley catheters took off when Harris Willits discovered that a surgeon in Flint, Michigan, was using the Foley on a routine basis as a retention catheter for post-operative patients.

In 1940, Germany's invasion of France halted all shipments of Eynard instruments from France to C.R. Bard in the United States. Bard added American-made catheters to its line when Norman Jeckel founded the United States Catheter and Instrument Corporation to manufacture the first American woven catheter which he had developed. However, when the United States entered World War II in 1941, the U.S. military had first priority for purchase of the USCI catheters, limiting supplies and Bard's ability to meet the demand of civilian customers.

In 1945, Outwin and John Willits switched positions at the company, with Outwin becoming company president and Willits vice-president. Harris Willits became a member of the board of directors. Furthermore, a 150 percent increase in the company's net sales since 1935 led to the addition of two more sales positions. Net sales increased between 1945 and 1947 as a result of new urological procedures and the increase in the population of urologists and patients.

The soaring sales also necessitated a move to bigger headquarters. Bard commissioned a 5,400 square foot building to be constructed in Summit, New Jersey, and in March 1948, the company moved there from its Madison Avenue offices. That fiscal year, net sales rose to above the $1 million mark, and 18 employees were added. Bard quickly outgrew its new facility, and, as more space was needed for one-the-premises packaging, Bard purchased the property next door to its facility.

During the 1950s, net sales grew more than 400 percent, and the number of employees increased to 200. While in 1940 more than 85 percent of its products had been imported, by the 1950s the company's products were all made in the United States. During this time, Willits resigned as chairperson, and Outwin took his place. Harris Willits then became Bard's president.

In 1958, Bard introduced its products in presterilized packages. Initially the company sent its packaged goods to an outside laboratory for sterilization. However, packaging was soon sterilized in Bard's own laboratories. The introduction of presterilized products cut down on costs for hospitals and reduced the risk of contamination. The introduction of ready-to-use disposable products led to a contract with Resiflex Laboratory, Inc. to market Resiflex's disposable drainage tubes with the tradename Bardic. Bard also contracted with Deseret Pharmaceutical Company, Inc. to distribute its new intravenous tube tradenamed Bardic-Deseret Intracath. This soft, plastic tube could be placed in the patient's vein for intravenous feeding, eliminating the need to retain a steel needle for feeding.

The decade of the 1960s brought remarkable growth. Net sales increased by $42 million, reaching $51 million in 1969. The number of employees increased from 200 to 2,200. In 1961, the company moved its headquarters to a 50,000 square foot building in Murray Hill, New Jersey. The company expanded its product line by marketing cardiological, radiological, and anesthesiological products, in addition to urological devices. By 1969, Bard owned 14 plants and was manufacturing 75 percent of the 6,000 products it sold.

Bard became a public company in the 1960s when the Outwin family sold their stock on the over-the-counter market. Chairperson Edson Outwin, however, retained his own personal shares, representing a 2.5 percent interest in the company. Outwin remained chairperson until 1966, when he resigned due to ill health. Harris Willits then became chairperson, and Outwin was named chairman emeritus. In 1968, Bard stocks were traded on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time.

Bard's thriving international mail order business led to the formation of two new corporations in 1963. Bard-Davol Inc., located in England and owned equally by C.R. Bard Inc. and Davol Rubber Inc., began producing surgical and hospital supplies for the United Kingdom. Bard-Davol International, headquartered in Bard's Murray Hill, New Jersey, offices, was responsible for all other export trade. A year later, Bard formed C.R. Bard Limited, headquartered in Toronto, specifically to handle distribution in Canada.

Bard's first in-house manufacturing began in 1964 with the molding and assembling of medical plastic tubing. Bard began making its own intravenous tubes and disposable surgical masks when Bard's and Deseret's association ended on friendly terms.

Bard bought USCI in 1966 after a 25-year association with this leading producer of urological instruments and cardiovascular products. USCI was a well-respected and innovative company, whose founder, Norman Jeckel, had collaborated with Nobel Prize winner Andre Cournand to develop the first intravenous heart catheter. USCI scientists had also collaborated on the development of artificial arteries and dacron grafts.

In 1968, the MacBick Company of New England and Lowndes Products Inc. of Easley, South Carolina, also became part of the Bard corporation. MacBick designed and manufactured hospital supplies and equipment, including mobile carts, work stations, and disposable presterilized patient care items. Lowndes produced underpads, diapers, mattress covers, surgeons' caps and masks, and other products for the medical market.

Once again, Bard found itself in need of more space because of its expanded packaging and in-house sterilization operations. As a result, the company doubled the size of its headquarters and built a 172,000 square foot manufacturing plant, also in Murray Hill. With the completion of the new plant, the company consolidated all of its New Jersey manufacturing and product assembly operations.

Bard also began manufacturing its own extruded tubing at this plant. By 1982, it was producing 14,000 miles of extruded tubing rather than purchasing it from outside vendors. Bard also expanded by building a 100,000 square foot plant in Covington, Georgia, to produce Foley drainage trays and clean catch kits.

During the 1970s, Bard made several acquisitions as its business rapidly grew. The company acquired Homer Higgs Associates, Inc. of Fairfield, New Jersey, a distributor of convalescent and home care products, and Burnett Instruments Co., Inc. of Lawrence, Kansas, a manufacturer of disposable instruments, orthopedic and physiotherapy products, and electronic heat and related products for hot compress therapy. LeMoyne & Grant Inc., of Montreal, Canada, which produced mobile stretchers, also became part of Bard during this time. Furthermore, Med-Econ Plastics of California, a maker of disposable plastic respiratory products, was acquired in 1972, as well as Sani-Pac Corp. of New York, manufacturers of bed pads and adult diapers. Two years later, Bard acquired a company that made suction collection instruments, Deaton Medical Co. of Oklahoma.

Acquisitions continued throughout the decade, including American Membrane Corp. of California--which held a license from the federal government to develop a membrane for kidney dialysis--and William Harvey Research Corp. of California, the developer of the disposable bubble oxygenator and cardiotomy used in open-heart surgery. Bard also acquired Medical Device Laboratory, Aerway Laboratories Inc., and MI Systems, Inc. By 1976, Bard was distributing 13,000 products.

In 1979, Bard obtained the sole rights to manufacture and sell the Gruntzig catheter. This device, with a small balloon at the tip, could be used to open up artery walls by pressing fatty deposits against the walls. This device and procedure, called angioplasty, became a well-accepted alternative to the more costly and riskier heart bypass surgery. In using the Gruntzig catheter, the surgeon inserted a long wire through the femoral artery near the groin and up through the patient's arteries to the clogged arteries of the heart. A tiny balloon at the end of the wire was then inflated, compressing the fat against the walls of the artery and opening the passage to allow more blood to flow to the heart.

The 1970s brought growth in Bard's international operations as well. Bard entered into joint ventures with companies in Japan and Denmark, and it acquired Brazilian company Rossifil Industria Produtos Plasticos Ltda, a producer of intravenous administration, blood collection and transfusion sets.

In the late 1970s, Robert H. McCaffrey was elected CEO and George T. Maloney was elected president and chief operating officer. Harris Willits retired from his honorary chair in 1979. He died in 1992.

Bard's growth prompted the company to decentralize in 1980, forming divisions based on product lines, including urological, cardiopulmonary, implants, cardiology and radiology, medsystems, electro/medical, home health divisions, and international divisions. Divisions designed and carried out their own product development, working with medical specialists.

The 1980s brought another healthy growth spurt for Bard. During the early 1980s, Bard continued to expand by purchasing Davol Inc. and Davol International from International Paper Co. This acquisition was significant as Davol manufactured Foley catheters, still Bard's single largest selling product. Bard also acquired Shield Healthcare Management Inc., Catheter Technology Corp. and the assets of Radi Medical Systems AB.

Some acquisitions sent the company in new directions. The purchase of Automated Screening Devices Inc., which produced a blood pressure monitoring system, moved Bard toward more technologically advanced products. Bard also entered the orthopedic implants arena by becoming the sole distributor in the United States and Canada of the orthopedic line of German firm Waldemar Link GmbH & Co.

By the late 1980s, the company operated domestic plants in 12 states and Puerto Rico and plants or offices in several foreign countries, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, as well as most countries in Europe and Great Britain. In 1990, McCaffrey retired, and Maloney became president and CEO. Shortly after that, William H. Longfield was named company president.

During this time, Bard faced some challenges regarding its coronary balloon angioplasty catheters. In 1990 the company had to temporarily withdraw its catheters from the market, pending approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), after modifications were made to the devices. While catheter sales for that year were virtually nonexistent, Bard re-entered the angioplasty market in April 1991.

In the 1990s, Bard began to focus more carefully on its major markets, selling those divisions incidental to their main focus of development of single-patient-use products for diagnosis and treatment for the urological, cardiovascular, and surgical markets. In 1990, the company sold its Shield Healthcare Centers subsidiary to a subsidiary of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan and also sold its MedSystems infusion pump division to Baxter International.

In 1992, Bard had net sales of more than $990 million, a 13 percent increase over 1991 sales of $876 million. The company attributed the sales increase in part to its re-entrance into the balloon angioplasty market following FDA approval of several of Bard's designs. Furthermore, the company looked forward to a healthy sales increase from the marketing of an implant from Collagen Corp. that would combat urinary incontinence. The product was available in several foreign countries, and FDA approval was pending in the United States in 1992.

Although in 1992 Bard was best known for its urological products--its Foley catheter was the leading device for bladder drainage--its largest product group was cardiovascular care devices, which contributed about 40 percent of the company's net sales. Competition in the health care industry was intense in the early 1990s, and Bard depended on its reputation for reliable products and service and innovative research and design. Bard continued to work closely with medical and health care specialists to develop new products or improve existing products. However, like many other health care companies and institutions, Bard was uncertain about the direction health care reform would take during President Bill Clinton's administration. Bard's management continued to view technology as an important component in improving the patient's quality of life and continued to develop new and improved products, with FDA approval critical to the company's growth.

Principal Subsidiaries: Bard Access Systems, Inc.; Bard Canada Inc.; Bard Cardiopulmonary, Inc.; Bard Devices, Inc.; Bard Implants, Inc.; Bard International, Inc.; Bard Shannon Limited (Ireland); BCP Puerto Rico, Inc.; CRB Delaware, Inc.

Additional Details

Further Reference

Annual Report, Murray Hill, New Jersey: C.R. Bard Inc., 1982, 1992.Bard World, Volume 2, Number 4, 75th Anniversary Edition, Murray Hill, New Jersey: C.R. Bard Inc., 1982.Kindel, Stephen, "A Deadly Probe," Financial World, December 11, 1990, pp. 52-4.Weiss, Gary, "Despite a Tough Blow, Bard Is Up and Swinging," Business Week, November 19, 1990, p. 128.

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