Flu hospitalizations are putting pressure on saline manufacturers in face of shortage

The FDA has been working with three manufacturers of saline solution to increase supply but a shortage of the fluid is being exacerbated by hospitalizations for flu. "We have not heard of anyone running out of the IV solutions at this point, but we know the hospitals are not comfortable with the low supplies," Valerie Jensen, FDA's associate director for drug shortages told Reuters. The FDA recently warned healthcare providers that there is a shortage of saline solution, as well as other IV solutions. The agency said it is working with Baxter International ($BAX)--which recently had to recall four lots of saline--Hospira ($HSP) and Braun to boost production. Baxter spokeswoman Deborah Spak told the news service that "Baxter has been manufacturing solutions at maximum capacity in amounts exceeding those of prior years and is making investments to further increase supply in 2014." Jensen said the FDA is looking for other sources of the essential product, like suppliers outside of the U.S. Meanwhile, hospitals are doing things like using more oral hydration fluids and smaller IV saline bags with slower drip rates when it is appropriate. Story | More