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Hartford HealthCare Pharmacies Managing Through Nationwide IV Shortage

January 11, 2018

In the midst of a nationwide shortage of intravenous bags, clinical pharmacies across Hartford Healthcare are working together to ensure patient care isn’t interrupted.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the shortage began in September after a group of IV bag manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico lost power because of Hurricane Maria. The shortage worsened after the shutdown of a California manufacturing plant for maintenance. The facilities in Puerto Rico have since opened but there could be a lag of several months before the market returns to normal, according to Hartford Hospital Pharmacy Director Eric Arlia.

“The biggest thing for us at Hartford HealthCare is we’ve been able to keep up,” says Arlia. “We’ve had to look at some different ways to administer medications, working collaboratively with our nursing education department and our nursing leadership to instruct our nurses how to use alternative versions of medications that they might not have administered in the past.”

Arlia says some patients are being given oral medications instead of intravenous drugs, if possible.  And, he says the six hospitals in the Hartford HealthCare system have been sharing supplies when necessary.

“The expertise of our clinical pharmacy services has been a key at getting that accomplished.  We’ve been able to share that information with the other hospitals across Hartford Healthcare.  It’s a challenge but we’re defiantly up to it,” he said.