Shortage of IV fluids caused by hurricane expected to improve

Shortage of IV fluids caused by hurricane expected to improve
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is confident the shortage of saline IV fluids and bags caused by the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico last year will soon subside. 

The hurricane crippled a leading manufacturer — Baxter International — in Puerto Rico.

But Baxter has announced all of their facilities on the island have returned to the commercial power grid, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Thursday.

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"Based on the information we’re receiving from the companies, we expect that the shortage of IV saline fluids will improve in early 2018, with continuing improvements in the weeks ahead," Gottlieb said in a statement.

Hospitals across the U.S. have faced dire shortages of supplies after the hurricane.

The storm primarily effected production of IV saline fluids and bags, which are used to rehydrate patients and dilute medications. 

Baxter had been given permission from the FDA to import saline and other solutions from its manufacturing facilities in Australia and Ireland to ease the shortages. 

Other companies in Puerto Rico that manufacture products or drugs considered at risk of potential shortages are also back on the power grid, Gottlieb said.

Baxter's return to the power grid also means a shortage of pediatric and adult formulations of IV amino acids is expected to improve in the coming weeks.

"Given the improvements we’ve seen over the last few weeks, I’m optimistic that supplies of IV saline and amino acids will increase over the next few weeks and the stress of the shortage will begin to abate, even if the shortages will not be fully resolved immediately," Gottlieb said.