By Liz White, UT staffSt Paul, Minnesota-Smiths Medical MD Inc. has gained a three-year contract with Premier Purchasing Partners LP for its TruFlow Hemodialysis catheters. The contract allows Smiths to offer these polyurethane-based catheters to Premier's healthcare facilities, said an 11 April statement from Smiths Medical. Kidney failure affects more than two out of 1000 people in the US a year and is growing at between 7 and 9 percent a year, the statement said. Patients with renal failure must undergo dialysis several times a week: their blood is circulated through a dialysis machine to remove harmful toxins, Smiths pointed out. Truflow hemodialysis catheters are surgically inserted into a patient's jugular or subclavian vein, with a portion left outside the body for easy access during dialysis. These catheters-made of carbothane and tecothane polyurethane materials-are resistant to breakdown from betadine and alcohol, used in cleaning the catheters. The PU materials also offer less kinking and provide stability during implant, according to the Smiths press statement. Another useful property is high radiopacity to confirm catheter tip placement, and a large inner diameter for good flow. St Paul-headquartered Smiths Medical is a leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of medical devices used in infusion therapy. Premier Inc. is a strategic alliance in US healthcare, consisting of nearly 200 hospital and healthcare systems, affiliated with over 1500 hospital facilities and hundreds of other sites. Premier purchases more than $17 000 million worth of supplies and equipment annually."