Hospital-supply buyer Premier Inc. struck a multiyear deal with mask maker Prestige Ameritech Ltd., an early effort to reverse decades of outsourcing of medical-equipment production.
Medical masks, especially those known as N95s that can filter out 95% of very small particles, have been in short supply as the coronavirus pandemic has spread around the world. U.S. capacity to make many of these medical products declined in recent decades as hospitals turned to cheaper foreign sources, especially in China.
Premier and more than a dozen of the health-care systems it works with said Tuesday that they bought a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech and will purchase a portion of all the masks the company produces for the next three years. Premier and Prestige didn’t disclose financial terms of the deal.
Premier President Michael Alkire said his organization wants to help the hospitals it represents reduce supply-chain risk. He said he plans to buy some products from multiple regions, including from domestic makers, and from countries closer to the U.S., such as Mexico, to reduce reliance on China.
“The pandemic shined a light on some of the constrictions of the supply chain,” Mr. Alkire said.