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Medical Devices / Commercial Operations

Flu Season Impacts IV Product Shortage

Jan. 23, 2018
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The “worse-than-typical flu season” is affecting the ongoing shortage of IV saline products, which was exacerbated by the destruction in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

More and more clinicians with low IV saline fluids supplies have turned to using empty IV containers as an alternative. This is “further impacting the IV saline shortage and any possible shortages of empty IV bags” and it is “resulting in diminished supplies of these containers and concerns that supplies of empty bags could tighten further,” Gottlieb said. 

One of the major challenges with addressing the situation has been that the FDA lacks the authority to require shortage notifications so it has had to rely on manufacturers to voluntarily report this or reach out to them directly and individually, Gottlieb told members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee during a Jan. 17 hearing on the country’s preparedness in dealing with public health threats.

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