Buying Group for Hospitals Vows Change

The following article appeared this weekend in the New York Times as part of its continuing Medicine’s Middlemen series on disparities in hospital purchasing programs.

To view the article and previous installments of the series online at the New York Times Web site, please visit


The largest group in the country that helps hospitals buy products said yesterday that it would fundamentally change its policies to make it easier for new, lifesaving medical products to reach hospitals faster.

The group, Novation of Irving, Tex., said it would begin to use more medical supply companies, shorten the length of its contracts and limit the amount of money it accepts from suppliers. Critics, including some manufacturers, had said that its contracting practices were anticompetitive.

Last year, Novation negotiated nearly $20 billion in supply contracts for a third of the nation’s hospitals.

The group’s reform plan comes after one offered earlier this week by the nation’s other big buying group, Premier Inc.

Both plans followed a series of articles in The New York Times about how the groups had, among other things, discouraged competition among medical suppliers and slowed the adoption of new medical technologies.

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