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Premier Inc. ProvideGx™ Program Partners with Fresenius Kabi to Secure the Supply of Sedation Drug Essential for COVID-19 Care

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), through its ProvideGx™ program, has partnered with Fresenius Kabi to supply Diprivan® (propofol) injectable emulsion, USP to healthcare providers, helping to stabilize the long-term supply of a medication vital for COVID-19 patient care.

Diprivan is indicated for anesthesia and sedation, including for patients who require sedation during mechanical ventilation. Diprivan is a unique formulation of propofol that uses an antimicrobial retardant (EDTA or disodium edetate) that may help inhibit microbial growth should contamination occur. Diprivan is also commonly used as an anesthetic in many elective surgical procedures.

According to Premier data, demand for propofol nationwide during the peak of the pandemic (April) spiked to about six times historical rates, while fill rates in the United States fell to less than 50 percent of ordered quantities, particularly for larger vial sizes preferred for 24-hour ventilator sedation. The product was added to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage list in the same month.

“The supply of propofol started to stabilize in June as production and deliveries were expedited,” said Premier’s President, Michael J. Alkire. “A simultaneous resumption of electives in some parts of the country, coupled with increasing COVID-19 cases across the nation, could lead to a second spike in demand and more widespread shortages. As such, Premier and Fresenius Kabi are partnering to take swift action to assure adequate supply and manage this surge. This agreement secures a reliable supply of both the smaller size Diprivan vials used in elective surgeries, as well as larger vial sizes needed for ventilator sedation.”

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; amiodarone; sterile water; ibutilide fumarate; vincristine sulfate; 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.

Fresenius Kabi is a leading manufacturer of injectable medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition.

To help meet a potential future surge in demand, Fresenius Kabi is committed to retaining a significant strategic safety stock of Diprivan for Premier members, sourcing raw materials from multiple regions, producing finished doses in multiple locations and staging inventory in multiple U.S. logistics centers.

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.

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with Premier to help hospitals respond to public health crises like COVID-19 and we share Premier’s vision of a robust and resilient supply chain for critical pharmaceuticals,” said Scott Meacham, President, Pharmaceuticals and Devices, at Fresenius Kabi USA.

The financial terms of Premier’s agreement with Fresenius Kabi were not disclosed.

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