Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Drug Shortage Report: Shortage of Saline Has Hospitals on Edge --Salty Water Harder to Make Than One Might Think

Hospitals across the country are struggling to deal with a shortage of one of their essential medical supplies. Manufacturers are rationing saline -- a product used all over the hospital to clean wounds, mix medications, and treat dehydration. Now drug companies say they won't be able to catch up with demand until next year.
That leaves San Francisco General Hospital's materials manager, Reid Kennedy, in a fix. Kennedy is in charge of managing all the gloves, bandages, bedpans, and IV solutions for all the medical floors, emergency room, and operating room.
He first got a call last year from his vendor telling him they might not be able to deliver his full order.
"We were put on notice that it was going to be tight," he said.
Then things got worse in January. The flu season hit much harder than expected, and sick people flooded into hospitals. Saline bags flew off the shelves to treat dehydration, and demand far outstripped supply.
"The flu season knocked us out as an industry," Kennedy said. Though hospital administrators say the shortage hasn't affected the quality of patient care, Kennedy uses the word "crisis" to describe the shortage.
It's Harder to Make Than You Think
But can salty water really be that hard to come by? Kennedy pays $1.57 per bag. Why can't drug companies just whip up some more?
continue to read here

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