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Trump Team Orders $16 Million in ICU Drugs for Virus Fight (1)

July 14, 2020, 4:00 PMUpdated: July 14, 2020, 8:33 PM

Fresenius Kabi and Baxter Healthcare Corp. will supply $16 million in vital ICU drugs to the national medical stockpile to bolster supplies for hospitals battling Covid-19.

The Strategic National Stockpile, a national repository of emergency medical supplies, is purchasing “critically needed ICU medications as part of the Covid-19 response” from Fresenius Kabi and Baxter Healthcare Corp. Fresenius was awarded a contract worth $12.5 million, and Baxter was awarded a contract worth $3.6 million.

Hospitals have struggled to get needed drugs during the pandemic and are looking at creating their own stockpiles of the medications.

The Department of Health and Human Services purchased propofol, midazolam, and fentanyl citrate from Fresenius and rocuronium bromide from Baxter, a spokesperson told Bloomberg Law. Propofol and midazolam are sedatives, fentanyl citrate is a pain medication, and rocuronium bromide relaxes the muscles.

Dexamethasone, a low-cost, widely used anti-inflammatory drug that showed promise as a Covid-19 treatment, was placed on the Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage list June 18.

Hospital supply-purchasing group Premier Inc. found in a survey that 88% of hospitals and health systems are building stockpiles of critical medications, and 51% are building stocks of at least one month. Those health-care providers are looking to add sedatives like propofol, neuromuscular blockers like vecuronium, and controlled substances like fentanyl to their stores.

Premier has also partnered with Fresenius Kabi to supply Diprivan, an injectable drug for patients who require sedation during ventilation, to hospitals and health-care systems. Demand for propofol, the generic version of Diprivan, increased about six times historical rates in April and fill rates in the U.S. are less than 50% of ordered quantities, according to Premier data. The drug was placed on the FDA’s drug shortage list in April.

(In fourth paragraph, adds additional details on drugs purchased.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at; Andrew Childers at