After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections. He spent nearly 10 years in the field, investigating all aspects of the problem: clinical behavior, drug use, patient activity, syringe manufacturing/molding, distribution, disposal, procurement, public health, policy, and funding. The result was the K1 Auto Disable (AD) syringe, which physically prevents reuse by locking the plunger once it has been fully depressed.
Convinced he had a breakthrough on his hands, Koska shopped the product to the major syringe manufacturers. Unfortunately, these producers understood the need for such a device, but did not believe there was adequate demand to warrant the investment required to produce, sell, and distribute it. Koska gradually convinced organizations such as UNICEF to become customers of the AD syringe, but sales of the device were not growing fast enough to make a real impact. This mini-case study describes why Koska started the nonprofit SafePoint Trust to raise awareness about unsafe injections, as well as the dramatic campaign he launched in India to stimulate the adoption of AD syringes.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Marc Koska of the SafePoint Trust for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.