Health-Care Purchasing Groups Announce Plans to Buy Green

Health-Care Purchasing Groups Announce Plans to Buy Green

Four top group purchasing organizations (GPOs) that buy supplies for more than 70% of the health care facilities in the United States announced significant environmental commitments at CleanMed 2002, an international health care conference on environmentally preferable products and green buildings. In attendance were leading institutions from across the health care supply chain, including medical device manufacturers, GPOs, health care systems, and hospitals.

Premier, Inc., Novation, Broadlane, and Consorta, Inc. -- which together represent about $30 billion in medical purchasing power -- each announced initiatives designed to reduce the purchasing of medical products containing mercury, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, and the chemical plasticizer DEHP.
  • Novation will label DEHP-containing and PVC medical products in its catalogues so customers can seek more environmentally preferable alternatives.
  • Consorta will ask shareholders for permission to label DEHP-containing and PVC products in catalogues, and to take mercury-containing medical devices off contract because of environmental concerns.
  • Premier will take mercury-containing medical devices off contract, and has developed a comprehensive list of pharmaceutical products containing mercury to help hospitals identify these drugs and manage or dispose of them appropriately.
  • Broadlane indicates in its online catalogue and contract implementation packages which products are free from chlorine, DEHP, latex, mercury and PVC.
"We applaud the commitment of these four GPOs to educate their customers about environmentally preferable products and to move to offer better and safer alternatives. This reflects a developing consensus that mercury, PVC, DEHP, and other highly toxic substances do not belong in medical products except where alternatives are not yet available," said Mark Rossi, senior research associate for nonprofit coalition Health Care Without Harm and coordinator of the CleanMed conference.

Also at the CleanMed 2002 conference, Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest health care nonprofit, discussed its green-building initiative, which includes purchasing agreements for more sustainable construction materials to be used in millions of square feet in new construction.
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