WYOMING – US Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., joined 27 senators and 63 representatives in sending a bipartisan letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb regarding the current shortage of IV saline and other critical medical products.
Puerto Rico is one of the key in supporting American public health. Nearly 80 pharmaceutical companies in PR manufacture 10 percent of all drugs consumed by Americans.
The shortage was worsened by the devastation Hurricane Maria wrought on Puerto Rico’s many major manufacturing facilities and created nationwide concern during the height of a severe flu season. While the FDA has already taken immediate steps to address the shortage, Congress and the Administration must work in unison toward a long-term solution, the legislators said.
The shortage of saline solution bags has been ongoing since January 2014. It’s not all due to hurricane devastation on pharma companies in Puerto Rico—none of which are running above 70% capacity still today. Supply chains are limited. Baxter is one of only three US companies that manufacture IV bags.
The lawmakers’ letter urges FDA to use all tools at its disposal to address these dire shortages and requests information regarding the agency’s response to the shortage of IV saline. IV saline is used for critical medical procedures, including rehydration and delivery of medications.
The letter was led by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, R-Puerto Rico.
A full list of additional cosigners can found here.