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Contrast dye shortage causing problems in health industry

Posted at 7:11 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 10:23:55-04

Potentially lifesaving procedures are delayed, causing a crisis for healthcare. People across the Valley and the country are having to wait to get CT scans as contrast dye is running out.

The contrast dye supply was supposed to replenish by June but it's looking more like July before shipments and distribution get back on track.

Fifty percent of medical facilities in America get that dye from a single plant in China which has been shut down because of COVID-19 protocol.

ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Janice Johnston says in her clinic, Redirect Health, the dye is also used for pain management to better target specific areas. They've tried restocking but any available product is being rationed.

"We're reaching out to different suppliers but running into the same problem, everybody's starting to run short," she said.

Providers across the Valley are having to prioritize care. It's scary for patients who know early detection is critical for most health issues but particularly when diagnosing cancer. It's also frustrating for doctors who are trying to create care plans to make sure patients are safe.

"For patients who are in a monitoring mode putting something off for a few weeks or month may not be detrimental to their health but for someone who's been undiagnosed, we want to get at the problem quickly, making sure we get these tests done as soon as possible is always the best scenario," said Dr. Johnston.

Dr. Johnston says it's important to ask your doctor if they're worried about delaying a scan. She adds you may have to be your own health advocate and call around yourself to find a facility that can schedule your appointment sooner.