Premier Inc. healthcare alliance issues statement for on COVID-19 recovery plan

Feb. 4, 2021

The Premier healthcare alliance submitted a statement for the record on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee’s hearing titled “Road to Recovery: Ramping Up COVID-19 Vaccines, Testing, and Medical Supply Chain." 

They stated: 

Elements That Have Worked Well: 

• Nimbleness and ingenuity of the private sector to anticipate and identify needs as well as respond quickly to fill gaps

• Formation of the Private Sector Supply Chain Coalition to provide a coordinated and collaborative response

• Sharing of supply chain data that accounted for both supply and demand from neutral, vendor agnostic, and value orientated entities

• Regulatory flexibilities and waivers from FDA, CMS, HRSA, and CDC that were delivered rapidly

• Timely and regular access to government leaders and openness to input 

Elements That Led to the Current Situation: 

• In spite of efforts to counter the trend by some, a focus for the past 20+ years to move manufacturing offshore as a means to reduce costs to offset decreasing reimbursement

• Emerging economies more willing to take greater environmental regulatory risks

• Large populations of low-cost labor

• Incentives provided by other nations to move manufacturing to their markets

• Lack of centralized upstream visibility into supply chain to determine source of raw materials and finished goods. This resulted in a lack of understanding of vulnerabilities, foreign reliance on manufacturing, and impact as export bans and manufacturing shutdowns were announced.

• Unprecedented demand both globally and nationally that led to an imbalance in the supply vs demand (17X increase in surge demand for N95 masks) • Export bans and manufacturing shutdowns globally

• Insufficient supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and cumbersome process for accessing supplies in the stockpile

• More reactive approach vs a proactive approach by the government at the outset. Product was not allocated to the “hot spots” because there was not clear identification of them until late.

• Fragmented approach to securing supply (private sector vs federal vs states) led to increase in prices as multiple entities competed for the same inventory and out-bid one another

• Lack of clear visibility of distributor fulfillment led to uncertainty on where products were delivered. This continued uncertainty left providers with dwindling confidence in the normal supply chain and proliferated more maverick and forward buying, as well as hoarding. This also led to a rampant gray market and many entities purchasing counterfeit products.

• Insufficient national strategy and plan for addressing global pandemics, including confusion regarding which federal agency was responsible

• Existence of patent restrictions that impeded access to ancillary products needed for care such as viral swabs

• Lack of resources to contain the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and proactively identify emerging cases. 

To strengthen the supply chain to address future global pandemics, Premier has robust recommendations on how the existing private sector supply chain can be further enabled and augmented, including: 

·        Incentivizing Domestic Manufacturing

·         Augmenting the Strategic National Stockpile

·         Identifying Solutions to Environmental Issues Impacting Patient Care

·         Maintaining Supply Chain Integrity

·         Expediting COVID-19 Vaccinations of the American People

·         Creating Upstream and Downstream Visibility

·         Expanding Infection Prevention Clinical Surveillance

Premier Inc. has the statement.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.