Saline shortage boosting veterinarians' fluid costs


FDA expects shortage will continue in near future because of increased demand.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been monitoring a shortage of sodium chloride injection bags that has been impacting U.S. supply and has potential to increase prices for clinics.

Jeff Werber, DVM, a practice owner in Los Angeles and frequent dvm360 contributor, says he has seen the effects of the short supply. “Our intravenous fluids almost doubled in price in a just a few months,” he says.

Increased demand for saline began toward the end of 2013 and has continued into 2014, creating a shortage in the available supply. Demand has continued at a higher-than-normal pace, and the shortage is expected to continue for some time in the future, says Tara Goodin, FDA press officer.

Manufacturers have been working with the FDA to increase capacity and fulfill orders. And Baxter Healthcare and Fresenius Kabi USA, two primary suppliers, have begun temporarily importing saline from their European facilities in Spain and Norway, respectively, Goodin says. The European facilities have been inspected and meet FDA quality standards.

All companies that have traditionally manufactured sodium chloride products are continuing to produce them. Given the shortage, however, allocation procedures are in place, ensuring that each facility receives a shipment based on historical use so that supplies can be evenly distributed until suppliers are able to fulfill all demand. The FDA is continuing to watch the situation closely and work proactively to add additional capacity and develop backup sources, Goodin says.

Here's a quick look at concrete solutions specific companies have in place to make 0.9% Sodium Chloride injection bags available:

B. Braun Medical

> Increasing production for next three years.

> Implemented inventory allocation and fulfillment process.

> Tightly managing inventory.

> Intermittent backorder status expected.

Baxter Healthcare

> Some units are on allocation.

> Some products will be available again beginning mid-May or June 2014; other products will be unavailable until fourth quarter of 2014.

> Units will be temporarily imported from Spain facility.

Fresenius Kabi USA

> Units will temporarily be imported from Norway facility.

> U.S. label units are available except for 100 ml Freeflex.

> Scandinavian label units are not available.

Fresenius Medical Care North America

> Product is on allocation.


> Some product has delivery and shortage recovery estimated for September 2014.

> Other product is on allocation or a limited supply available.

> Allocations have been set at 100 percent of historical usage.

For additional details visit the FDA shortage information center or read their update on the situation.

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