Supply chain disruption can be life or death. The ubiquitous saline solution…used in medical facilities worldwide. A small saline-solution bag is the workhorse in hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices…they cost next to nothing…about $1.50 each, and are the preferred method for delivering everything from painkillers and antibiotics to chemotherapy and heart drugs. What happens when they run low OR run out?
But supplies are running dangerously low. A long-standing problem, the situation worsened when Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, knocking out power at factories that make the small bags for Baxter International Inc., the product’s biggest supplier. Another large maker of the bags, B. Braun Medical Inc., is having problems of its own—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into reports of leaky and moldy intravenous bags. And a third, ICU Medical Inc., hasn’t been able to keep up with the increased demand.