North Carolina-based healthcare company Premier Inc. has joined with 15 of its health system members to acquire a minority stake in Prestige Ameritech, the nation’s largest domestic producer of surgical masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). The move is part of a long-term strategy to invest in expanded domestic production of PPE as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Premier said this month.
Under the agreement, Premier members commit to purchasing a portion of all face masks they use annually from Prestige Ameritech for up to six years.
“PPE products critical for the daily operations of health systems are overwhelmingly sourced overseas, with approximately 80% coming from China and Southeast Asia,” Premier wrote in a statement announcing the partnership. “The risks of this overreliance on Asia came into sharp focus as Covid-19 swept across the globe and these nations closed borders and prevented U.S. access to supplies, triggering widespread shortages of PPE needed to protect healthcare workers and patients. In contrast, Prestige Ameritech represents a domestic supply chain, with production completed in the United States. Prestige also sells 100% of its products to U.S. customers.”
Prestige’s leaders said the move is part of a larger strategy to change the way it sources products.
“With past outbreaks such as SARS, H1N1, and Ebola, the nation talked about domestic manufacturing and expanding supply sources as the keys to preventing shortages, only to return to the same overleveraged overseas markets once the crisis was over,” Premier President Michael J. Alkire said in the statement. “This move is the latest step in our long-term commitment to changing the way we source critical products so that we never again experience shortages as a result of overreliance. Our economic prosperity can no longer be tied to things we buy – it must also come from things we make.”
The 15 members participating in the program represent health systems from across the country.
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