Hospitals facing drug shortages save millions

In response to growing shortages of various medications, the purchasing alliance Premier has introduced a program intended to address failure-to-supply (FTS) issues. It has saved its members $3.5 million in the first year of operation, according to Medical News Today.

The program focuses on clauses in many provider contracts that allow them to capture reimbursement from pharmaceutical manufacturers if they have to purchase an alternative drug at a higher price. However, recouping this cost can be a complicated process that not all hospitals have the manpower to address.

Premier uses its own pharmacy management software to isolate whether medications failed to ship due to shortage issues. It then submits claims on behalf of members every month and pays recipients quarterly. It currently is able to do this for more than 120 different pharmaceutical contracts.

"We're seeing more credits from FTS in one quarter than ever before in a year, plus our hospitals aren't spending any time on it now. It's a tremendous return on investment," said Ray Moore, a system contract manager, with PeaceHealth in Bellevue, Wash.

Premier officials said they are working closely with the Food and Drug Administration to get to the root of the shortages.

"Unavailability of the prescribed drugs could lead to medication errors and poor patient outcomes, which is Premier's primary concern," said Bryant Mangum, Premier's vice president of pharmacy services.

For more:
- read the Medical News Today article
- read the Premier press release

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