Don’t Throw Away that IV Pouch Yet

After the state experienced a small dip in the flu during the first two weeks of January, last week flu cases spiked upward. All seven regions of the state are reporting increased flu cases and influenza-associated hospitalizations are far above previous year’s reports for the same time.

Hospitals are still struggling to ration IV fluid bags, the supply of which has only recently begun to increase as the main production facilities affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico come back online.

Last week the FDA sent notices to hospitals informing them that they are allowed to extend the shelf life of certain supplies manufactured by Baxter Healthcare Corporation, a big supplier with operations in Puerto Rico. For example, the shelf life of “10% Osmitrol (Mannitol) in Water in 500 mL Viaflex Container with 4.5 mil HDPE Overpouch” is 15 months; but due to the shortage, the FDA said the shelf life can be extended another three months.  The extension applies only to select supplies listed here.