Premier subsidiary ProvideGx is now supplying cysteine hydrochloride injections to its member providers, the generic-drug division of the group purchasing and consulting organization announced Tuesday.
ProvideGx teamed up with the manufacturer Exela Pharma Sciences to deliver the only Food and Drug Administration-approved version of the drug. The injection used for pediatric and adult patients who need intravenous nutrition has been in short supply since 2015.
"This provides some certainty moving forward, where providers know they won't have to delay procedures or look for alternatives," said Mike Moloney, Premier's group vice president of integrated pharmacy.
Premier provides access to more than 100 drugs on the drug shortage list, with plans to introduce an additional 60 pharmaceuticals that have persistently been in short supply, beginning with sterile generic injectables.
Current supplies of cysteine hydrochloride are imported from Canada under special FDA rules that allow shortage drugs to be sourced abroad if no domestic supplies are available.
Exela's FDA-approved new drug application allows no more than 120 parts per billion of aluminum, following the FDA's recommendations. High aluminum levels in some injectable products has been linked to impaired brain development, particularly for babies.
"This partnership is a game-changer for us," Terry Webb, vice president of pharmacy services at Adventist Health, said in prepared remarks. "Having a safer, FDA-approved and domestic supply of cysteine hydrochloride will greatly benefit the newborn patients we serve.
Seemingly intractable drug shortages have drained resources and compromised care. ProvideGx is one of several responses that stakeholders have crafted to mitigate the problem. ProvideGx inks long-term contracts with health systems that agree to source the majority of their annual allocation of a certain product from a manufacturer that can scale up accordingly.
"We have to move away from the transactional relationships between providers and manufacturers to long-term strategic relationships with a select group of high-quality suppliers to solve this mission," Moloney said.