CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Premier Inc., through its ProvideGx™ program, has partnered with Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (Hikma, Group) to supply amiodarone and sterile water to healthcare providers, helping to stabilize the long-term supply of two medications vital for COVID-19 patient care.
Amiodarone is used to manage late onset cardiac arrest and ventrical arrhythmia, two common complications associated with hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Although this drug is not currently on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) drug shortage list, Premier’s purchasing data shows that amiodarone is heavily backordered, with just 55 percent of orders being fulfilled due to the dramatic spike in demand during the first quarter of 2020. Sterile water is currently on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists shortage list and has historically rolled on and off the FDA’s shortage list due to production delays and increased demand. Sterile water is used to reconstitute many medications for injection, including remdesivir, which has been shown to speed COVID-19 recovery times.
“When it comes to the COVID-19 response, we can’t afford to delay action until drugs roll onto the FDA shortage list,” said Premier’s President, Michael J. Alkire. “By that time, patient care is already compromised. Through ProvideGx, we are able to look at historic purchasing trends and make predictions about drugs that we think may be vulnerable to widespread shortages in the future, enabling us to take steps now to protect those supply chains. This agreement speaks to the core strengths of Premier and the ProvideGx program - our data assets that enable predictive capabilities, and the nimbleness to act quickly when macro events require it.”
Premier’s ProvideGx program identifies safe, high-quality supply sources for drugs that are or may be at risk of being added to the national drug shortage list. Guided by health systems with more than 1,600 hospitals across the nation, Premier’s ProvideGx program creates long-term committed buying contracts that provide participating manufacturers with the surety needed to increase production. Premier’s programs, including ProvideGx, currently provide members access to more than 150 drugs that are or have been recently designated as shortage drugs, including metoprolol; cysteine hydrochloride; sodium bicarbonate; diphenhydramine; hydromorphone; lidocaine; morphine; thiamine; phytonadione injection; and emergency, pre-filled syringes of calcium chloride, epinephrine, sodium bicarbonate, atropine sulfate, dextrose and lidocaine. All manufacturers participating in the program are vetted to enable more geographically diverse production capability, adequate safety stocks and surge capabilities to meet sudden spikes in demand.
"Our COVID-19 response effort is completely dependent on reliable access to these critical drugs and important treatments, "said Susan Mashni, PharmD, Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer for Mount Sinai Health System, a member of Premier's group purchasing organization. "We commend Premier and Hikma for reaching this deal to support long-term access to these medications now so that we don't have to worry about these products being completely unavailable in the future. Having a reliable supply of these drugs is critical for patients who can't afford to wait, and crucial for their survival."
With wide-ranging effects on patient care, drug shortages can add time and expense as providers search for therapeutic alternatives and manage supplies, potentially delaying certain elective hospital procedures. ProvideGx is part of Premier’s ongoing effort to help facilitate the availability of high-quality products, including drugs for which there may be supply challenges. Premier currently is targeting more than 50 critical drugs to secure for healthcare providers across the nation. In doing so, Premier is working to help insulate its members from supply fluctuations that may affect the market at large.
“Hikma shares Premier’s commitment to provide U.S. hospitals and doctors with essential medicines needed to treat COVID-19 patients and we have a strong record of using our significant U.S. and global manufacturing capabilities to address the urgent needs of the U.S. healthcare system,” said Joel Rosenstack, EVP, U.S. Injectables for Hikma. “We look forward to working with Premier, and all of our customers, as a reliable partner, capable of serving U.S. hospitals and clinics with a wide range of vital medicines.”
The financial terms of Premier’s agreement with Hikma were not disclosed. Revenues from this agreement are not expected to materially impact Premier FY 2020 results.
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