A shortage of saline was already an issue in US hospitals.
Now the country is teetering on "the brink of a significant public health crisis," per a letter earlier this month from the American Hospital Association to Congress. It all comes down to a problem with the bags that hold the salty solution, as a trio of manufacturers face various issues and the industry faces a DOJ criminal probe for possible price-fixing and collusion.
Per Bloomberg, the FDA is on the case of a major manufacturer, B. Braun Medical, for reportedly "leaky and moldy" IV bags, while another bag-maker, ICU Medical, struggles to meet demand. But it's the largest supplier of the bags, Baxter International, that had power to its Puerto Rico plants knocked out by Hurricane Maria. Per NPR, all three of its factories there were temporarily down after the storm; the company tells Bloomberg one site is still not up and running.
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