SOURCE: 340B Prime Vendor Program

April 10, 2006 12:45 ET

340B Prime Vendor Program Adds Sandoz Pharmaceuticals to Growing List of Companies Providing Low-Income Americans With Access to Antibiotic Injectibles and Oral Solid Medications

IRVING, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 10, 2006 -- The 340B Prime Vendor Program, managed by HealthCare Purchasing Partners International® (HPPI) announced today that it has added global pharmaceutical leader Sandoz (a division of Novartis) to its growing list of companies providing drugs, supplies and medical devices to clinics, hospitals and health care programs for low-income Americans. HPPI's three-year contract with Sandoz began April 1, 2006.

HPPI, a group purchasing organization co-owned by VHA Inc. and the University HealthSystem Consortium, signed Sandoz to the federal program that HPPI manages. The program, known as the 340B Prime Vendor Program, provides deep discounts on outpatient drug purchases to public hospitals, community health centers, clinics, state-operated AIDS drug assistance programs and other safety-net health care providers serving low income and uninsured patients.

Sandoz has made a number of its drugs available to the 340B Prime Vendor Program, including Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin, which will provide significant discounts to safety net provider organizations.

"The goal of the Prime Vendor Program is to expand and ensure access to life-saving medicines and vaccines," said Chris Hatwig, senior director of the 340B Prime Vendor Program. "Such access is critically important to patients, and we're pleased to partner with Sandoz to make some of their key products available to these patients."

The Prime Vendor Program was established to increase the discounts already offered under Section 340B of the U.S. Public Health Service Act. HPPI was selected from competing group purchasing organizations and other companies to administer the program. Hatwig said that currently over 12,000 providers across the country qualify to participate in the discount program at no cost, and more than 2,400 facilities are currently enrolled in the Prime Vendor Program.

"Sandoz is proud to be a part of the 340B Prime Vendor Program," said David Picard, marketing director of Sandoz's institutional business. "This partnership further demonstrates Sandoz's commitment to ensuring that patients in need have access to important medications."

340B Prime Vendor Program

The Prime Vendor Program was established to increase the discounts already offered under Section 340B of the U.S. Public Health Service Act, providing low-cost drugs to clinics, hospitals and programs for low-income Americans. Over 12,000 providers across the country qualify to participate in the discount program at no cost, and more than 2,000 facilities are currently enrolled. HealthCare Purchasing Partners International, an Irving, Texas-based health care group purchasing organization co-owned by VHA Inc. and the University HealthSystem Consortium, administers the program. Visit the Section 340B Prime Vendor Program web site at http://www.340bpvp.com/ for more information about the program.

About HPPI

HealthCare Purchasing Partners International® (HPPI), LLC, is an Irving, Texas-based health care group purchasing organization serving more than 9,000 health care organizations across the nation. HPPI members used its contracts to purchase more than $2.5 billion in supplies in 2005. HPPI is owned by VHA Inc., a national health care cooperative, and the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), an alliance of academic medical centers. HPPI was formed by VHA and UHC to serve health care organizations that do not belong to either VHA or UHC.

Contact Information