Normal Saline Drug Shortage

So I’m guessing a lot of people received the e-mail from ASHP about the national shortage of normal saline 0.9% IV bags. My goodness what is happening with all the drug shortages lately?

It was one thing when lots of generic, not necessarily life threatening single-source items were on shortage (I’m looking at you prochlorperazine injection and erythromycin eye ointment). But then you get things like propofol going on shortage. Sodium bicarbonate and dextrose. And now we have the most basic of all injectable ingredients on shortage. It just seems ludicrous.

I know that there is legislation ongoing to help handle these drug shortages to attempt to mitigate the effects and prevent these drug shortages but when something as basic as normal saline is on shortage things are just getting out of hand.

I’m not sure about all institutions but from what I’ve heard our hospital is ok with our supply of one liter bags of saline. I heard our smaller 500 mL and 250 mL bags of saline are low but those aren’t used as often. Fortunately, the pharmacy system is already set up to use dextrose as the base solution for all of our IV admixtures when ever possible. I would advise that other hospitals do the same, especially if you are low on the smaller size bags.

I can only imagine that it is a matter of time until half-normal saline is on shortage because of increased demand, so hopefully everyone will plan accordingly and avoid hoarding.


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