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AHA urges FDA to do more to end IV saline shortage

March 21, 2014

With normal saline hard to come by, the AHA yesterday urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “take any and all steps possible to expedite the resolution of the long-standing and serious shortages.”

In recent months, hospitals and other health care providers have experienced shortages of normal saline and other intravenous (IV) fluids that are fundamental to patient care, as AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack noted in his March 20 letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists last month reported that critical shortages of IV saline solutions are affecting more than 75% of the nation’s hospitals.

The shortages are attributed to a range of factors, including a worse-than-average flu season, plus production problems caused by factory shutdowns that occurred around the holiday season.

Pollack said the AHA appreciates that FDA is working with manufacturers to ramp up supplies, and that it is investigating foreign suppliers to help address the shortage. But he said more needs to be done, given the extended duration of the shortages
and their impact on patient care. He called on the FDA to push manufacturers to produce saline solutions at maximum capacity and make investments that can help ensure an increasing supply for the future. He also encouraged the FDA to find new domestic suppliers to “make the market more resilient” when there are unexpected interruptions in supply or when sudden increases in demand occur. For more, click on: http://tinyurl.com/kgg6bk3.

The AHA also sent its members a Quality Advisory with strategies for conservation. For more on the advisory, AHA members can visit
www.aha. org.