IV Solutions Shortage: Good News

May 14, 2019

By Elizabeth Hilla
Senior Vice President, HIDA

Drug shortages have been such a critical industry issue recently that it’s easy to overlook the good news: the IV solutions crisis is definitely past its peak.

Congratulations to everyone in the healthcare supply chain who worked many extra hours over the last many months to ensure that products were available where they were needed most.

I had the opportunity today to attend a panel discussion on Capitol Hill, hosted by B. Braun, focused on understanding the challenges caused by recent IV fluid shortages and on alleviating future shortages.

The panel included representatives from providers, GPOs, and other organizations, including my colleague Linda Rouse O'Neill, HIDA’s VP of government affairs. Among the takeaways that I found useful:

  • Supply chain partners put in an amazing effort to ensure that available product was sent where it was needed most. This required ongoing collaboration between distributors, providers, manufacturers, and GPOs.
  • Providers found ways to make product substitutions when necessary, but this is generally not a preferred outcome, because changes to clinical processes require training and can introduce risks.
  • The shortage added costs and sometimes impacted site of care – in some cases, patients had to stay in the hospital where IV solutions were more likely to be available, rather than being transferred to less-costly home care settings.

I also heard some about some positive things that resulted from the crisis:

  • Providers found ways to eliminate product waste, such as eliminating the use of IV bags in kits if they weren’t essential.
  • Supply chain partners became more collaborative partners. The level of transparency that came out of the crisis will help reduce problems in the future, panelists noted.
  • As a distribution industry advocate, I was pleased to hear about the positive role distributors played during the shortage. “The partnership with distributors was so important and worked so well,” said B. Braun Medical CEO Caroll Neubauer.

Published:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/iv-solutions-shortage-good-news-elizabeth-hilla/