AHA issued a quality advisory this week regarding the experiences of shortages of intravenous (IV) fluids that are critical to patient care. The national shortages were triggered by several factors, including continued pharmaceutical market consolidation and production interruptions at some manufacturing facilities due to serious quality issues. These shortages have worsened dramatically as a result of Hurricane Maria’s impact on manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico. The most significant and severe shortage is for small-volume parenteral solutions, such as the 50 and 100 milliliter “minibags” of sodium chloride 0.9%, dextrose 5% and IV nutritional products made by Baxter.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with Baxter and other drug companies to reduce the impact of these shortages and to restore operations of Baxter facilities in Puerto Rico. Recently the FDA has permitted Baxter to import supplies of these products from their plants outside of the U.S.; however, the imported supplies are not expected to fully address existing shortages of these products. Shortages are not expected to be resolved for several months.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) in collaboration with the University of Utah Drug Information Service (UUDIS), has compiled a document, “Small-Volume Parenteral Solutions Shortages, Suggestions for Management and Conservation,” to assist hospitals and health systems seeking ways to manage these shortages by conserving existing supplies of these IV fluids.

AHA is working with other national organizations to urge the FDA and pharmaceutical manufacturers to identify and implement all steps to expedite resolution of the worsening shortages.

Share the ASHP-UUDIS document with your pharmacy, medical and nursing leadership, materials managers and others in your organization who are involved in addressing the current shortages.