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Puerto Rico hurricane contributed to IV bag shortage at hospitals nationwide

Posted at 5:55 AM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 10:40:08-05

Hospitals nationwide are dealing with a shortage of IV saline and other products like mini IV bags.

The FDA says the shortages are a result of Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico in September.

Baxter manufacturers the Mini-Bag bags (small volume parenterals, or SVPs) and Mini-Bag Plus Container systems at facilities down in Puerto Rico. Production was halted for several days after the hurricane hit.

The company released the following statement to ABC15:

“Restoring reliable product supply for our patients and customers remains our priority, and we are making progress on the road to a full recovery of our operations.

All of Baxter’s manufacturing facilities are connected to the electric grid. Reliable and stable electric power is key to our ongoing efforts to restoring sustainable manufacturing operations. All facilities will continue to have backup diesel generation in case of power interruptions, which still occur intermittently.”

The FDA released a statement:

“Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, the FDA has been working closely with Baxter and other companies to reduce the risk of shortages of critically important drugs and to minimize impact on any existing shortages. In particular, Baxter and the FDA have closely monitored and identified ways to prevent a significant shortfall of production of Baxter’s sodium chloride 0.9% injection bags from its Puerto Rico facility. Also known as mini bags, this product is used to provide fluids and medicines to patients across the U.S. While these products have been in shortage industry wide since 2014 and other manufacturers exist, the agency and Baxter recognized that further shortage of this product could potentially put U.S healthcare at risk. The FDA has worked closely with Baxter to find solutions to prevent additional shortages.”

The FDA expects the shortage will improve in early 2018.

Banner Health released the following statement to ABC15:

“Like many health care organizations across the country, Banner Health received notice about a nationwide shortage of small IV bags from our supplier late last year. While patient care has not been impacted, several measures were implemented across Banner Health to help manage this situation. These measures are proving to be successful and we are starting to see additional product become available from the manufacturer.”

Abrazo Community Health Network has five hospitals and 2 Emergency Centers in the Phoenix area. They released the following statement:

“We manage inventory of our hospital supplies, especially medications, very closely. Should manufacturing issues affect the medication supply levels in our hospital, we take steps to conserve, identify alternative treatment protocols with physicians and work with suppliers to replenish inventory.”