Premier Inc., through its ProvideGx® program, has partnered with Baxter Healthcare to supply pre-filled, single-use IV bags of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride to healthcare providers, helping to stabilize the long-term supply of a medication needed to care for some of the most acute cases of COVID-19.
Dexmedetomidine is a sedative that can be used with initially intubated and mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care setting as well as with non-intubated patients prior to and/or during surgical procedures. The drug has been on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) drug shortage list since April of 2020, when large numbers of COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospitals and received mechanical ventilation. According to Premier data, demand for dexmedetomidine during that period increased more than 360 percent when compared to the same period in 2019, and providers typically only received about 62 percent of what they ordered.
“Demand for dexmedetomidine stabilized over the summer after new research was published recommending for a more judicious approach to mechanical ventilation,” said Premier’s President, Michael J. Alkire. “However, severe cases of COVID-19 still require mechanical ventilation, and these cases are on the rise across the country. This is why we continue to see lower than normal fill rates for some sedation drugs and neuromuscular blockers needed for intubation and continue to monitor for any potential future disruptions. The partnership between Premier and Baxter Healthcare will help stabilize the supply of one of these drugs for the benefit of the patients who are counting on ventilation to save their lives.”
“Sourcing dexmedetomidine has been an ongoing challenge for quite some time,” said Thomas Johnson, Assistant Vice-President for Hospital Pharmacy at Avera Health. “Dexmedetomidine is a front-line drug in our intensive care units, especially during this time when we’re dealing with higher numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In addition to simply having a reliable supply, many of our hospitals benefit tremendously by having access to ready-to-use infusion bags.”
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 or move into new markets. Premier’s programs, including ProvideGx, currently provide members access to more than 150 drugs that are or have been recently designated as shortage drugs, with a pipeline of more than 50 additional drugs. The program has also ensured an adequate safety stock of medicines and has successfully protected supply even as demand surged more than 150 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, Baxter has remained focused on assisting healthcare providers and maintaining business continuity to ensure hospitals have access to the medicines needed for patient care, including dexmedetomidine,” noted Heather Knight, General Manager of Baxter’s U.S. hospital products business. “We are pleased to continue collaborating with ProvideGx and Premier to ensure long-term solutions that help deliver top quality patient care throughout the pandemic and beyond.
About Premier, Inc.
Premier, Inc. is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of more than 4,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems and approximately 200,000 other providers and organizations to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and consulting and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare.