Shortages of IV saline solution may continue through early next year.
That's according to John Thompson, vice president of sourcing operations for Novation's medical, surgical and distribution businesses. Novation is a large, privately held group-purchasing organization based in Irving, Texas.
Saline solution, one of the most commonly used hospital products, has been in short supply since last fall. The Food and Drug Administration in January attributed the shortage to a spike in demand. Other reasons cited for the scarcity included the flu season and a planned routine shutdown of a Baxter International factory.
The FDA recently allowed saline solution to be imported from a Baxter plant in Spain and from a Fresenius Kabi plant in Norway. Importing product from overseas has been one way that the federal agency has sought to address other drug shortages as well.
Novation held a call today with reporters to discuss the shortages. During the call, Erin Fox, director of the University of Utah’s Drug Information Service, which receives funding from Novation, said personnel costs are another concern for hospitals, which are already likely to spend more to purchase saline solution off-contract.
Fox said the saline scarcity has been “the most costly drug shortage we’ve had.”