Hospital pharmacy folk understand supply and demand and realize that when there is a shortage of the generic injectables drugs they routinely use, a big price hike is coming. What they don't get is why when another supplier jumps into the market, prices come down little, if any.
In response to U.S. senators who have asked the FTC to look into whether saline producers have used the shortage to unfairly raise prices and push the sales of tubes and pumps, Baxter International and Hospira, two of the key U.S. suppliers of saline, say they have gone to extraordinary effort to deal with the solution shortage that has bedeviled the industry for two years.
A two-year shortage of saline solutions has had the attention of hospitals that have had to sometimes ration a product they once took for granted. But it has now caught the attention of some U.S. senators who are asking the FTC to look into whether saline producers have using it to unreasonably jack up prices.
Hospira recalled 661,000 bags of sodium chloride at the first of the year after a customer discovered a human hair in the additive port area of a bag. That recall has now bled into products of a Hospira client that used some of the solution to compound a bunch of drugs for its customers.
Hospira recalled a single lot of the pain suppressor lidocaine last spring, saying particles of iron oxide had been spotted in some vials. The drugmaker has added another 100,200 vials to its recall for the same reason.
Just as its acquisition by Pfizer closed, Hospira nabbed a $50 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. This injectable drug and infusion tech company was not alone on the DOD list. Philips Healthcare was also awarded an $18.8 million contract in the same Sept. 2 disclosure from the DOD.
Hospira and healthcare IT firm Cerner are joining forces to develop the companies' infusion pump information platform, building on previous efforts to better integrate Hospira's infusion pumps with Cerner's electronic medical record systems.
Australia's Therapeutic Good Administration has registered mAb biosimilar Inflectra (infliximab) from Hospira, the company said in a press release, noting it sets the stage for reimbursement under the country's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
In a strongly worded statement, the FDA told hospitals to stop using Hospira's Symbiq Infusion System because it can be remotely accessed by hackers, allowing the unauthorized user "to control the device and change the dosage the pump delivers, which could lead to over- or under-infusion of critical patient therapies." The agency's move marks another step to patrol the cybersecurity of medical devices, an issue that has long bedeviled Hospira's infusion pumps in particular.
After recalling 18 million vials last January of a painkiller commonly used in surgery, sterile injectables maker Hospira indicated that it was on top of the problem. But the company now says new manufacturing issues have cropped up that have led it to recall more than 20.7 million more vials of ketorolac, a drug on the FDA shortage list.