“Our fill rates demonstrate that the strength of the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program in building additional inventory based on members’ historical purchases is making a real difference in ensuring their access to essential medications.” —Mittal Sutaria, vice president contracting and program services at Vizient.

Random and enduring shortages of essential medications for pediatrics have been a persistent problem for U.S. hospitals. In fact, a 2020 report by Vizient and the Children’s Hospital Association showed that medication shortages disproportionately impact children’s hospitals. These supply interruptions can pose a threat to providing immediate and high-quality patient care while also taking a toll on pharmacy resources, budgets and staffing.

As part of Vizient’s ongoing commitment to ending supply interruptions, the Novaplus® Enhanced Supply Program was launched in 2020 to help ensure the availability of essential pediatric and adult medications and products for members. The program requires contracted suppliers to hold up to a six-month surplus inventory of essential chronic, acute and high impact medications for members, thereby creating a resilient supply chain for members. Vizient has identified 228 essential medications, and 53 of these medications are pediatric disproportionate impact products.

Meeting member needs for essential pediatric medications

Since its launch, the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program has made a significant impact in preventing supply interruptions of these essential pediatric medications.  During 2020—when there were many COVID-related challenges to pharmaceutical supply—data from Vizient members participating in the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program found that they experienced an average 91% fill rate for essential pediatric medications for 2020, meaning that more than 9 out of 10 orders for essential pediatric essential medications were able to be filled.

This is significantly higher than the average fill rate of the same medications accessed through other marketed drug shortage solutions. The fill rate for all pediatric essential medications across all Vizient agreements was 80% for 2020, 85% for products in the Novaplus program and 91% for products in the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program. 

“These fill rates demonstrate that the strength of the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program in building additional inventory based on members’ historical purchases is making a real difference in ensuring their access to essential medications,” says Mittal Sutaria, vice president contracting and program services at Vizient.

Vizient is continually working on adding additional essential pediatric medications to the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program. “Our goal is to have all of the 53 pediatric medications that we have identified as essential in the program,” says Sutaria. “We are prioritizing those essential medications that have the highest impact.”

One of those essential pediatric medications in the program is cysteine, a frequently-used supplement in total parenteral nutrition for premature infants. The supplement has just one supplier. By including it in the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program, Vizient utilizes the existing manufacturer’s capabilities and leverages members’ commitment to using the product.

Another example of an essential medication in the program is acute treatment drugs that would be used in a crash cart, such as epinephrine. “When you’re trying to save a patient’s life, you need to ensure you have access to those medications that have no alternatives,” says Sutaria. “Novaplus Enhanced Supply provides assurances about these products, especially when there is just one supplier. It’s vital to ensure there are units available in case there’s ever a supply disruption.”

A unique feature of the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program is that it leverages members’ commitment at a national level rather than each member trying to hold the supply on their shelves. With the program, members don’t have to make individual investments to purchase additional quantities and manage that inventory to ensure consistent access. Instead, suppliers hold and rotate that extra inventory as part of serving our members’ day-to-day purchases.

To learn how the Novaplus Enhanced Supply Program can deliver additional inventory of essential pediatric medications for your health system, click here.

Published: May 18, 2021