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Manufacturers Stepping Up Production of IV Saline in Wake of Shortages

Jan. 31, 2014

Baxter, B. Braun and Hospira are taking steps to increase their production and distribution of IV saline bags in the wake of shortages in U.S. hospitals.

The manufacturers initially reported delays in filling orders for IV saline bags last year.

The problem was compounded by a bad flu season, said American Hospital Association spokeswoman Marie Watteau, as patients presented with dehydration symptoms such as vomiting.

In light of the shortage, Baxter is increasing its production capacity by 9 percent this year and “managing inventory through a temporary allocation and fulfillment process in order to expedite product for urgent need,” said spokeswoman Deborah Spak. The company is also working with global regulators to explore alternative options within the supply chain to ease the current shortage, she said.

Baxter hopes to resume normal inventory soon, but hospitals may experience shortages for several more months, Spak added.

Despite increased demand, the price of Baxter’s bags has not gone up, she said, noting the products are sold under contract to hospitals and prices are fixed.

Hospira spokesman Dan Rosenberg told Device Daily Bulletin that the company is working with the FDA daily to identify critical products and prioritize manufacturing to fit needs.

B. Braun did not respond to a request for comment by press time. —Lena Freund

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