Oct. 27 update:
The safety of our employees, their families and the community is paramount, and we are focused on ensuring patients have continued access to the products and therapies they need. Recently, our CEO Joe Almeida accompanied a team of Baxter employees on a trip to Puerto Rico to personally thank our brave colleagues who are working tirelessly on recovery efforts.
We witnessed first-hand the extent of the damage our colleagues are confronting and their resolute commitment to rebuilding alongside our patients, their communities and each other. We feel both inspired and privileged to work with colleagues so committed to Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives, even in times of extraordinary crisis.
Our three sites in Puerto Rico sustained minimal structural damage from the impact of Hurricane Maria, and we resumed limited production activities in all of our facilities within one week of the storm. Our production lines are running.
Additionally, Baxter has been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has recently been granted regulatory discretion for temporary special importation of certain products from Baxter facilities in Ireland, Australia, Canada, Mexico and England to help support product supply for the U.S. market.
Supporting Employees and Communities
We have confirmed the well-being of all of our more than 2,000 Puerto-Rico based employees. Across our local facilities, Baxter employees can be found supplying water and ice to their communities. They are providing access to heavy machinery and safety gear, preparing and distributing thousands of meals and they’ve provided fuel to help keep a local hospital running.
These are challenging times; but they are also the times that demonstrate the unquestionable importance of what we do. And they are composed of distinct moments, large and small, when we see the full breadth of our work and mission come to life in amazing, inspirational ways.
Baxter is helping employees procure necessities such as gas, food, water and toiletries, and coordinated multiple daily flights in the hurricane’s immediate aftermath to transport ~25,000 pounds of needed supplies for employees. And the need continues: we are now distributing gas-powered generators, propane cooktops, and we’ve installed laundry facilities at our manufacturing facilities to support employees’ personal needs.
Additionally, the company has established the Baxter Employee Disaster Relief Fund, where 100% of all employee contributions will go to assisting colleagues in need. Between the Baxter International Foundation and the generosity of Baxter employees, approximately $3.5 million has been contributed to disaster relief efforts generally over the last several weeks, supporting those impacted by all of the recent natural disasters affecting the Caribbean islands, Mexico and the southern U.S.
We're also donating Baxter products, like IV fluids and antibiotics, through our humanitarian partners to help address urgent healthcare needs in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Baxter works with partners such as Americares and Direct Relief to pre-position products to be first on the scene in times of disaster as well as addressing ongoing humanitarian needs.
A special thank you to the first-responders who have answered the call to support communities in dealing with the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria and other recent natural disasters, and our employees who are working to help our patients through these difficult times.
For more information about our efforts in Puerto Rico, please read our press release.