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September 01, 2020 1:41pm
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GE Healthcare Announces Multi-Year Agreement with SQM to Secure Iodine Supply for Contrast Media

  • Enables GE Healthcare to secure increasing supply of iodine, a key ingredient for contrast media products used in X-Ray and Computed Tomography (CT) imaging procedures
  • Supports GE Healthcare’s broader commitment to address future demand for iodinated contrast media and deliver 30 million more patient doses annually by 2025
  • Investment plan also includes opening this week a new manufacturing line at its Cork, Ireland, contrast media production facility

GE Healthcare’s Pharmaceutical Diagnostics business has announced a long-term agreement with Chile-based mining company, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A), to secure its supply of iodine, a key ingredient for contrast media products used in X-Ray and Computed Tomography (CT) procedures globally. The agreement will see SQM increase supply of iodine raw material year-on-year and is part of GE Healthcare’s broader commitment and investment plan to enable the production of 30 million more patient doses of iodinated contrast media annually by 2025.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Iodine prills – produced by SQM (Photo: Business Wire)

Iodine prills – produced by SQM (Photo: Business Wire)

The growing global prevalence of chronic disorders has driven significant growth in CT procedures, leading to increased global demand for iodinated contrast media, used to enhance visualization of organs, blood vessels and tissues across clinical care pathways. GE Healthcare is also investing in production capacity to help meet this growing demand, including a new $30 million manufacturing line at its Cork, Ireland, contrast media production facility, which opens this week.

Kevin O’Neill, President and CEO, GE Healthcare Pharmaceutical Diagnostics, said: “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. As one of the largest consumers of iodine globally we value our longstanding relationship with SQM, an important partner for us.”

Pablo Altimiras, Executive Vice President of Iodine and Nitrates, SQM, said: “We’re pleased to continue our relationship with GE Healthcare – a key customer for us for more than 40 years. As one of the largest producers of iodine worldwide with approximately 24 percent 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.”

GE Healthcare Pharmaceutical Diagnostics develops and manufactures imaging agents used to support over 100 million procedures per year, equivalent to three patient procedures every second. All stages of its contrast media manufacturing, from development of API to finished product, are managed entirely by GE Healthcare, adhering to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). With over 4000 employees globally and seven manufacturing sites, the business also develops and supplies radiopharmaceuticals used to support diagnosis, monitoring and treatment selection across Neurology, Cardiology and Oncology clinical pathways.

About SQM:

SQM is a global company that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Santiago Stock Exchange (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A). SQM develops and produces diverse products for several industries essential for human progress, such as health, nutrition, renewable energy and technology through innovation and technological development. We aim to maintain our leading world position in the lithium, potassium nitrate, iodine and thermo-solar salts markets.

About GE Healthcare:

GE Healthcare is the $17.7 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading global medical technology, pharmaceutical diagnostics and digital solutions innovator, GE Healthcare enables clinicians to make faster, more informed decisions through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services, supported by its Edison intelligence platform. With over 100 years of healthcare industry experience and around 48,000 employees globally, the company operates at the center of an ecosystem working toward precision health, digitizing healthcare, helping drive productivity and improve outcomes for patients, providers, health systems and researchers around the world.

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