News Feature | March 26, 2014

American Hospital Association Asks FDA For Critical Fluids

By Marcus Johnson

In the past few years, there has been a shortage of resources and important materials at American hospitals. The federal government has worked to help stem some shortages of materials, but the shortages have continued to plague the medical industry. Now, the American Hospital Association, or AHA, is lobbying the FDA on the availability of important fluids such as saline. While many drugs are currently in short supply, the AHA is focusing on saline. AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack wrote a letter to the FDA detailing the needs of hospitals across the country. “We call on FDA to vigorously pursue strategies with the current manufacturers of these products and to seek out new suppliers in order to ameliorate the current shortage as well as prevent such shortages from occurring again in the future,” said Pollack.

American hospitals have been dealing with shortages for the past few years, and those shortages are increasing costs for hospitals and patients. The federal government estimates that drug shortages at hospitals are up 300% from 2007. In 2013, the total cost of drug shortages nearly topped $230 million, which is up about 15% from 2010.

Drug shortages can manifest for a variety of reasons. There are times when quality control and regulation stops the manufacturing or distribution of drug products. The present saline shortage is being blamed on the long winter and the need to rehydrate a large number of patients. Hospitals also believe that rising prices for drugs and other basic supplies are creating problems with supply.

The AHA is currently asking the FDA to encourage the country's four major saline producers to work at maximum capacity, and to look to other domestic sources for supplies.