Hurricane Maria Leaves Shortage of Mini-Bag IV Solutions

October 16, 2017
Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, FAAN

Nearly a month after Hurricane Maria left a path of destruction in Puerto Rico, the island is still trying to pick of the pieces.

Nearly a month after Hurricane Maria left a path of destruction in Puerto Rico, the island is still trying to pick up the pieces.

Newly reported by The Washington Post, is the disruption in production of mini-bags of IV solutions of normal saline and dextrose in water, which are manufactured by Baxter International.

The healthcare company is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, but has manufacturing sites in Puerto Rico where these mini-bags are produced. In a press release from Baxter International, the company stated that limited production at its facilities resumed a week following the Category 4 storm, powered by diesel generators.

To combat the shortage, Baxter International initiated an allocation system for hospitals and clinics based on past purchases.

And, as of last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the company permission to import normal saline and other solutions from its manufacturing facilities in Australia and Ireland to help ease shortages in the United States.

In addition, The Washington Post said that more than four dozen FDA-approved drug making facilities are located in Puerto Rico, including ones owned by Pfizer Inc., Merck, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Amgen. Many of these manufacturers produce agents used in the treatment of cancer, and it is unclear at this point if weather-related disruptions will affect the manufacturing of these agents.

“Baxter remains focused on helping ensure patients have continued access to the products and therapies they need,” stated the press release.