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Premier Healthcare Alliance, Cardinal Health Team Up to Enhance Safety of Hospital Patients and Staff
Joint ‘industry first’ effort will make it easier for hospitals to identify safer products through use of standardized terminology

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 19, 2007 — Hospitals will have an easier time selecting safer products through an “industry first” effort by the Premier healthcare alliance and Cardinal Health to standardize medical product terminology in online catalogs. Historically, industry information describing the contents of a specific medical product has been inconsistent or non-existent, posing possible safety concerns.


Through Premier’s Supply Chain Advisor electronic product catalog and Cardinal Health SupplyLine®, the largest product comparison and purchasing database in the health-care industry, Premier members will have a standard set of nomenclature for product attributes to make it easier to search for products that won’t cause allergic reactions or those that are potentially toxic.


For example, products that are made without latex, mercury, PVC and DEHP will have the new standardized nomenclature to include attributes such as:

  • LATEX-FREE for products without latex;
  • DEHP-FREE for products without the plasticizer, DEHP ( Di(2–ethylhexyl) phthalate);
  • MERCURY-FREE for products without mercury; and
  • PVC-FREE for products without polyvinyl chloride.

“Our customers have been telling us that they wanted to search our electronic product catalog to easily identify and select safer products that are made without latex for latex allergic patients and staff, or free of potentially toxic substances like mercury,” said Gina Pugliese, vice president of Premier’s Safety Institute. “With the help of Cardinal Health’s SupplyLine®, we’re taking a giant step in that direction.”


Unlike pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical products do not have a standard coding system, and functionally equivalent health-care products are often difficult and time consuming to identify for cost saving opportunities. SupplyLine®, is a core component in Cardinal Health’s rapidly growing Supply Technologies business that enables health-care providers and companies to evaluate more than 800,000 healthcare products and research alternatives from thousands of manufacturers. In addition to cost savings, the benefits of SupplyLine®, include reduced waste and excess, improved inventory controls, improved utilization management and outcome analysis.



Latex allergies are an ongoing concern with possible serious allergic reactions among hospital staff and patients. A federal law that went into effect in 1997 requires medical products with latex be labeled as “contains latex.”


“Hospitals want to be latex-free,” Pugliese said, “but they need good information to select and purchase products that are free of latex.” 


There are also safety concerns with DEHP, a plasticizer (softener) used in many medical products containing PVC, such as IV bags and tubing. The Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Notification in 2002 recommending steps to reduce risk of exposure to DEHP in high-risk patient populations and with certain products. Also, PVC products when burned in medical incinerators release dioxin, a known carcinogen. The Premier Safety Institute Web site has extensive resources on latex allergies and environmentally preferable purchasing at


Premier Data Management Services has already processed several million new and updated product descriptions received in the past few months from SupplyLine®. As the Supply Chain Advisor (SCA) database becomes populated by these new attributes, SCA users will be trained so they can begin to use the new search capabilities.


About Premier, 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Serving 1,700 hospitals and more than 44,000 other healthcare sites, Premier Inc. is the largest healthcare alliance in the United States dedicated to improving patient outcomes while safely reducing the cost of care. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates the nation's largest healthcare purchasing network, the most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information and one of the largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups in healthcare. Premier’s Safety Institute provides publicly available safety resources and tools to promote a safe healthcare delivery environment for patients, workers, and their communities.  Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C. and Washington. For more information, visit


About Cardinal Health

Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH) is a $80 billion, global company serving the health-care industry with products and services that help hospitals, physician offices and pharmacies reduce costs, improve safety, productivity and profitability, and deliver better care to patients.  With a focus on making supply chains more efficient, reducing hospital-acquired infections and breaking the cycle of harmful medication errors, Cardinal Health develops market-leading technologies, including Alaris®, IV pumps, Pyxis®, automated dispensing systems, MedMined®, data mining software and the CareFusion®, patient identification system.  The company also manufactures medical and surgical products and is one of the largest distributors of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies worldwide.  Ranked No. 19 on the Fortune 500 and No. 1 in its sector on Fortune's ranking of Most Admired firms, Cardinal Health employs more than 40,000 people on five continents.  More information about the company may be found at

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