Government Not Prepared for Pandemic: Saline Shortage has Hospitals Scrambling for Supplies

Friday, January 31, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: Rob Richardson
January 30, 2014

A nationwide shortage of intravenous saline is raising alarm bells, as hospitals scramble to find one of the most commonly used drugs. The problem is getting so bad that some hospitals are asking the government to release saline from its emergency stockpiles.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the three manufacturers of intravenous saline solutions to increase supplies, as hospitals start to ration and reserve the fluids for only their most seriously ill patients. The FDA said in an announcement posted Friday to its website that it is working with the three manufacturers to “help preserve the supply of these necessary products” and boost production.
The FDA Press Release said:

The FDA is aware of the shortage situation for intravenous (IV) 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.

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