CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), through its ProvideGx™ program, has partnered with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to supply to healthcare providers phytonadione injection and emergency, pre-filled syringes of calcium chloride, epinephrine, sodium bicarbonate, atropine sulfate, dextrose and lidocaine.
Clinicians use emergency syringes in hospital crash carts and emergency departments because they are pre-measured in the precise adult dose and ready to use for immediate injection, speeding response times and minimizing the potential for dosing errors. According to research published in the Journal of Patient Safety, emergency syringes halve the time it takes to dose and prepare medications for injection when compared to vials. The research also found that medication error rates as high as 75 percent fell to the single digits when clinicians administered the medicine through emergency syringes.
“Emergency syringes for several medications have been in shortage for a number of years and are completely unavailable in some parts of the country,” said Premier’s President, Michael J. Alkire. “In an urgent response situation, seconds count, and these shortages compromise providers’ rapid response capabilities, as well as patient safety. We are proud to partner with Amphastar to help ensure these life-saving syringes are once again back in the hands of providers across the nation. With this deal, we are not only closing a major gap, but simultaneously raising the bar for the entire drug supply chain.”
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 1,000 hospitals across the nation, Premier’s ProvideGx program has directly led to the reliable supply of critical shortage drugs in 2019, including metoprolol, cystine hydrochloride, sodium bicarbonate, diphenhydramine, hydromorphone, lidocaine, morphine and thiamine, with plans to introduce additional drugs from a target list of more than 60 products in months to come.
“Offering more precise dosing and ease of use, we’ve come to rely heavily on emergency syringes to respond to a number of serious medical events, including heart attacks, allergic reactions, hemorrhages and poisonings,” said Julio Viola, B.S., M.S., PharmD, R.Ph, Director, Centralized Pharmacy Services of Northwell Health, an 18-hospital academic medical system in the metro New York City/Long Island area. “Without access to these syringes, we’ve had to take a step backward and use vials, if we have access to the drugs at all. The one thing that is critical during an emergency is consistency among the products we use. This helps avoid confusion and wasting precious time. Having a reliable supply of emergency syringes is truly a life-saving development that will better enable us to provide the right drug, at the right time, for the right urgent situation.”
ProvideGx is part of Premier’s ongoing effort to help facilitate the availability of hundreds of high-quality products, including drugs for which there may be supply challenges. In doing so, Premier is working to insulate its members from supply fluctuations that may affect the market at large.
“Amphastar recognizes the importance of the availability of emergency syringes for patient safety. Our collaboration with Premier and ProvideGx is another important step in our efforts to help resolve the drug shortages of critical care products in the United States,” said Dr. Jack Zhang, CEO of Amphastar. “This collaboration further highlights Amphastar’s commitment to providing complex injectable/inhalation products. Our new state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity, which should be operational by the end of the year, will help solve this urgent problem. We value our partnership with Premier, as a leader in the acute-care market.”
After a period of decline, drug shortages in America increased significantly in 2018, with an estimated 113 drugs currently at risk or not readily available for U.S. hospitals, according to the FDA’s drug shortage list. 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.
The financial terms of Premier’s agreement with Amphastar were not disclosed. Revenues from this agreement are not expected to materially impact Premier FY 2020 results.
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