Saline bags, stat!

Saline bags, stat!

Article Title: U.S. Hospitals Face a Shortage of This Most Basic Necessity

Author of Article: R. Langreth and C. Koons

Date of article: November 14, 2017

Source URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-14/this-simple-lifesaving-liquid-is-suddenly-in-short-supply

This BusinessWeek article describes the shortage of small saline-solution bags for hospitals across the country.

A limited number of suppliers, quality problems, legal probes into possible price-fixing, and the destruction of factories by Hurricane Maria have contributed to a dangerously short supply of the bags which are used to administer hundreds of different medicines. Inventory levels of many essential drugs are also very low, making it difficult to respond to sudden disasters.

To cope with these problems, hospitals are trying to change the drug delivery system from injectables to alternatives. However, this process is complicated because it involves a redesign of the workflows.

Discussion Questions
1. When there is uncertainty in lead times, organizations carry higher levels of safety stock. Is it an option here?

Guidance: Discuss the limited supply of bags in the country and the perishability of injectable drugs. Both make it impossible to order large quantities and keep high levels of safety stock. Moreover, “hoarding” drugs in short supply compounds the problem. Discuss the Continue reading

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