Today, St. Luke’s University Health Network announced a new collaboration with Premier Inc. and Honeywell to expand U.S. production of nitrile exam gloves. Once fully operational, this collaboration is expected to produce at least 750 million domestically made exam gloves in the first year alone.
“Throughout the pandemic, St. Luke’s has stepped up to help change the way we source critical products,” said Michael J. Alkire, President and CEO of Premier. “St. Luke’s is a true innovator, as this initiative and the added domestic supply it provides would not be possible without St. Luke’s commitment. St. Luke’s deserves recognition for their leadership and for their contribution to helping bring PPE production back to America.”
Exam gloves are used in a variety of ways across treatment settings, including during routine and primary care visits, for clinicians in the operating room and emergency room, and during OB-GYN visits – making them a vital supply to safeguard healthcare workers and care for patients.
St. Luke’s is committed to ensuring that employees have the supplies they need to stay safe, healthy and able to provide exceptional care to patients. With this collaboration, St. Luke’s is helping create new domestic sources of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help insulate these critical products from shortages and make them available to the workforce. As nitrile exam gloves remain a worldwide supply concern, this collaboration is designed to build greater diversity and resilience into the U.S. supply chain.
Via this initiative, St. Luke’s will purchase a certain percentage of the Honeywell-produced gloves it uses annually from S2S Global, a direct sourcing subsidiary of Premier, a leading Charlotte, N.C.-based technology-driven healthcare improvement company. To incent onshore production, St. Luke’s is joining more than 80 other U.S. health systems making a similar “Buy American” commitment, providing the scale and financial incentives needed to support an expansion of domestic manufacturing.
Currently more than 80 percent of PPE items are manufactured overseas, which can limit U.S. providers' access during public health emergencies. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, exam gloves supply has been constrained as global demand skyrocketed – exceeding production capacity by nearly 40 percent. Global raw material scarcity, port closures and delays, and increased gloves usage as a result of vaccination efforts have exacerbated ongoing shortages.