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FDA acknowledges large-scale shortage of saline IV bags

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Hospitals across the country are dealing with a shortage of saline IV bags, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which attributed the issue in part to the intensity of the flu season.

The FDA released a statement that read: “FDA is aware of the shortage situation for intravenous solutions, particularly 0.9% sodium chloride injection (i.e., saline) used to provide patients with the necessary fluids for hydration and other conditions. The shortage has been triggered by a range of factors including a reported increased demand by hospitals, potentially related to the flu season.

“We are working with the three manufacturers of these products, Baxter Healthcare Corp., B. Braun Medical Inc. and Hospira Inc., to help preserve the supply of these necessary products. Addressing this shortage will depend on the increased demand and the manufacturing production of the current suppliers. Millions of these IV solutions are used each week by healthcare professionals.”

Michelle Corrado, assistant director of pharmacy for Hallmark Health System, a regional healthcare provider outside Boston, told USA Today the shortage “puts stress on the system” and “pulls people’s focus away from what they need to be doing.”

Hallmark hospitals have gotten by with IV solution bags of different sizes, while also scrambling to get supplies elsewhere. Bags of fluid that normally cost $1 or $1.25 now cost five or six times as much.

USA Today report: www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/27/saline-intravenous-shortage/4944169/

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