Mercy Health dealing with nationwide intravenous drug shortage - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mercy Health dealing with nationwide intravenous drug shortage

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Valley hospitals say they are using alternative methods to manage pain and deliver drugs in some cases to cope with a shortage caused by hurricane damage to a supplier.

Mercy Health which operates St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Boardman and St. Joseph Hospital in Warren revealed on Tuesday that production of intravenous drug supplies from Baxter manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico is only at 70% following damage to the power grid from Hurricane Maria in September.

All four plants were shut down, which were Baxter’s major production source for the United States intravenous solutions especially small volume IV solutions and premixed medications.

Baxter and drug distributors have been allocating supplies to prevent hoarding by healthcare provider companies, according to Mercy Health.

Currently, shortages exist for, small volume IV solutions for normal saline and dextrose, some types of large volume IV solutions, parenteral nutrition solution products, some types of irrigation solutions, and injectable pain medications.

Mercy Health says it is conducting weekly inventory reviews of solutions and pain medications supplies.

Where possible, physicians have been able to substitute oral therapy and solutions to conserve IV bag use, according to the health system.

Baxter has received temporary approval from FDA to import intravenous solution manufactured in United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. In December, allocations were increased as production improved.

Mercy Health says it is using plans developed during a similar shortage the U.S. experienced in 2014 and 2015 where communication between healthcare providers and manufacturers were instrumental in managing patient care and inventory.

Reportedly, product supply will gradually improve to be near normal by mid-year.

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