Hospitals Still Suffering From Hurricane Damage in Puerto Rico
IV Pump News January 11, 2018
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria caused major damage to Baxter International’s plants in Puerto Rico leaving the U.S with a nationwide shortage of saline intravenous bags. Because hospitals can go through hundreds or thousands of IV bags a day, they have had to consider halting clinical trials and delaying elective procedures.
The FDA has been working with producers to bolster the supply of IV bags to hospitals, and administrators say that shortages will improve over the next few months. Hospitals are not as optimistic that the small bag IV shortage will be quickly remedied and are considering using glass bottles in place of IV bags. Nurses are moving patients to oral and other therapy as fast as possible to preserve supply.
Baxter has said that two of its plants are hooked up to the electrical power grid, but the power supply is intermittent. There are back up diesel generators in place and they are making progress to a full recovery. Products that are manufactured in Puerto Rico are expected to return to normal supply levels in the upcoming weeks, but there is not enough industry capacity to ramp up the supply of small IV bags for hospitals to quickly make up for a major disruption like a hurricane.
Because shortages existed even before the hurricane, health leaders are pressing federal regulators and Congress to adopt new crisis management standards to guarantee a steady supply of critical treatment products. They also are pushing the Federal Health Administration to approve new suppliers in the US and for regulators to be more informed about the cause of shortages. Leaders are also suggesting for the addition of congressional incentives to get more manufacturers involved in producing specific critical products such as IV saline and drugs.
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