Skip to comments.Drugs For Critically Ill In Short Supply; Some Hospitals Consider Rationing
Posted on 05/19/2011 1:45:34 AM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Michael O'Neal is a pharmacist. He purchases drugs for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He often deals with drug shortages, but this one is bad. O'Neal is concerned about the availability of electrolytes. They are critical to a babies in neonatal intensive care and seriously ill adults.
Electrolytes are administered to a critically ill patient for nutritional support intravenously. They are given to patients who cannot get their nutrition any other way.
O'Neal said he's concerned that as supplies shrink, measures will have to be taken.
"We are dangerously close, we believe, when we will have to ration care to the critically ill. I would say within days or weeks," said O'Neal.
Vanessa Kumpf has her doctorate in pharmacy. She's also a clinical specialist. She supervises patient nutritional support at Vanderbilt. She knows how important the correct cocktail of electrolyte drugs are to a patient.
"If one of the drugs is missing, it can be a very potentially life threatening situation. Your heart, your muscles, your lungs, every organ system has to have the right component of electrolytes," said Kumpf.
There are so few makers of electrolytes that when one drug company, American Regent, stopped production because of quality issues, it sent supplies in a tail spin nationwide.
Kumpf told Channel 4 News that if you have a loved one in the hospital you should ask a very important question.
"Are there shortage issues in the institution, and how are clinicians dealing with it?" said Kumpf.
Both Kumpf and O'Neal said even after production of electrolytes speeds up, it will take months before supplies return to normal.
How come babies were given sterile water in years gone by??
you don’t start with death panels right off...
how’s that change working out for you?
“...stopped production because of quality issues, it sent supplies in a tail spin nationwide.”
Yeah, I’ve got enough Gatoraide and Pedialyte around here to last awhile. However, it probably is off by 0.01% of the requirements of the gov’t. And not that it would be bad for anyone, but sure might lend itself to a lawsuit. I imagine that was the same place the manufacturer found themselves in when they stopped production.
“Are there shortage issues in the institution, and how are clinicians dealing with it?” said Kumpf.”
And you will be told, “WE don't have any such problems but if you feel you can get better care elsewhere........”.
There are insane shortages of drugs in almost every category that the public isn’t hearing about. I guess the manufacturers got tired of being sued.
I think they’re talking electrolytes for IV fluids for critically ill patients - quite different from fluids that you take by mouth.
I know. But I wonder how far off I am on my speculation of them dumping a batch and stopping to avoid a lawsuit because they weren’t quite up to par on the government standards?
But, I guess that is what happens when you leave the manufacture of important drugs and medicines up to private industry. They are only in it for the profit you know. If the government took over these companies and the manufacture of critical drugs and medicines we wouldn’t have this problem!
(I’m probably getting ahead of myself. A few folks need to die first in order for it to become a new(?) liberal talking point.)
I don’t think you can buy IV fluids at Wal-Mart. And no one would get sterile water via IV unless their sodium is critically elevated.
Folks, the hospital I work in has had shortages of various drugs in the operating room for about a year now. I don’t recall this ever happening in my 14 year-career before. Once, we had some sterile saline recalled because it was found to be contaminated. This was in 2000 or 2001, but it was quickly resolved. Now, there are always some medications on “national backorder” that requires us to alter how we practice.
Does anyone remember the shortage of flu vaccine a few years ago, too?
Going Galt? Shrugging like Atlas?
paging...John Galt...paging John Galt....
This wouldn’t have anything to do with encroaching Obamacare, would it?
The nation has suffered through economically stupid presidents before (Jimmy Carter) without these kinds of consequences.
Would be interesting to interview those who got out of the game and ask them why. Trying to set up overseas and having quality problems? Totally unrealistic price caps? (Bulk medication prices are way less than the delivered cost of a unit at a hospital.)
Dr. Atlas, code blue
I wonder if more incoming patients are getting the IV hookup in order to ward off lawsuits in the event they conk and it takes a moment too long to administer a drug. If it was just electrolytes, many of these people could swallow them.
Maybe it has to do with the FDA. The FDA is just as bad as the IRS or the BATF. Dealing with the FDA is almost impossible for a small company, so the landscape is reduced to big companies that have departments of staff who just prepare for and deal with the FDA. They regulate huge swathes of the economy, and would like to regulate it all! At least, that's my opinion.
Better built some more space ships, as those drugs are only available on other planets like Canada. Europe, and Asia.
Oh the horror, you are all going to die.
They have enough money to advertise on the Obama Networks ABCBSNBCNN morning and evening “News” shows about 6 times every half hour.
But, I guess that is what happens when you leave the manufacture of important drugs and medicines up to private industry. They are only in it for the profit you know. If the government took over these companies and the manufacture of critical drugs and medicines we wouldnt have this problem! [</sarcasm>]
Reminds me of the story (told by Thomas Sowell IIRC) of the shortage of pumps for mines in the USSR. It seems that mining production was crippled by the lack of the necessary water pumps. At the same time, the pumps were in being at the the pump factory, taking up space and not being shipped.
The reason was that the spec for the pump required a specific green paint to be applied before shipment, and the pump manufacturer was simply unable to obtain that specific paint. And while failure to ship was a problem for the pump manufacturer, you could be shot for shipping the pumps without the correct coat of paint!Which illustrates the basic point that criticizers, whether in government or in journalism, can paralyze economic activity. It takes a lot of "yes" - in the form of knowhow, equipment, workmen, supervision - to make the pump. It only take a little bit of "no" - in the form of armed enforcers with arbitrary power to execute rule breakers - to cancel all that "yes" out. Result: no pumps. And low production from mines. Maybe, the lack of mine production ultimately had some indirect influence on the supply of green paint?
***Does anyone remember the shortage of flu vaccine a few years ago, too?***
I do! It was caused by Hillary putting the vaccine manufacturers out of business. We had to get the vaccine from Canada.