Hurricane-linked shortages expected to improve in early 2018

All companies with drug products made in Puerto Rico have returned to power grid

After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico last September, FDA identified 30 drug products manufactured primarily on the island that were at risk of potential shortages. While most of those never went into shortages, current shortages involve I.V. fluids and amino acids, both made at Baxter International facilities, according to FDA’s 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Response Joint Information Center.

Current shortages caused by hurricane damage in Puerto Rico include the following:

For pharmacists managing these existing shortages, FDA recommended the recently released American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/University of Utah guidance document, Small-Volume Parenteral Solutions Shortages, which outlines best practices.

The agency added that pharmacists can continue to check the FDA drug shortage website for daily updates as new information is received from the companies.

The I.V. saline fluids shortage is expected to improve in early 2018, with continuing improvements in the weeks ahead, according to a January 4 FDA blog post statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Baxter, a leading producer of I.V. saline fluids, has announced that all its facilities on the island have returned to the commercial power grid.

All other companies with products manufactured in Puerto Rico that were on the initial list of drugs at risk of shortages are now on the power grid, and “their production is increasing,” Gottlieb wrote. “The commercial power grid remains unstable in places.”

The shortage of pediatric and adult formulations of I.V. amino acids also is expected to improve in the coming weeks.

Providers and patients at every hospital have been affected by the shortages, according to news reports. Manufacturers have been rationing the products in shortages, according to news reports