The chemical element is a key ingredient for contrast media products. Health providers worldwide use contrast media in X-Ray and Computed Tomography (CT) procedures. The medtech giant is seeking to stabilize contrast media supplies. Supply chain disruption related to contrast media caused thousands of Americans to have to wait for exams earlier this year.
Under the new agreement, SQM will increase the supply of iodine raw material year-on-year.
“We’re pleased to continue our relationship with GE Healthcare — a key customer for us for more than 40 years,” said Pablo Altimiras, EVP of Iodine and Nitrates, SQM.
“As one of the largest producers of iodine worldwide, with approximately 24% of our production used for X-ray contrast media, we are committed to the iodine industry and will continue to improve quality and increase capacity to ensure the reliability of supply, which is essential to so many sectors, including healthcare,” Altimiras said in a news release.
More on GE HealthCare’s efforts to boost contrast media supply
GE HealthCare officials expect demand for contrast media to continue to grow. That’s because chronic conditions are becoming more prevalent around the world. Iodinated contrast media enhances the visualization of organs, blood vessels and tissues across clinical care pathways.
The company’s goal is to produce 30 million more patient doses of iodinated contrast media annually by 2025. In addition to the SQM agreement, GE HealthCare is expanding manufacturing. It’s investing $30 million in a new manufacturing line at its Cork, Ireland contrast media production facility.
Said Kevin O’Neill, president and CEO of GE HealthCare Pharmaceutical Diagnostics: “We expect global demand for iodinated contrast media to double in the next 10 years. As an industry leader, we understand our responsibility to help meet this growing demand from customers and patients by investing in production capacity and securing higher volumes of iodine raw material.”