SEARCH
Current Location:
>
> This Story


Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Comment

Never Miss a Story

Sign up for email alerts

 

More Industry Headlines

Companies develop pediatric medical devices to compete for $50,000 prize Will the smallest of patients finally have more options?

New imaging method may detect cancer earlier Will shortwave infrared be a bright spot?

Siemens AAMI 2014 CMS debate video released See a video of the debate on CMS's imaging equipment maintenance edict from December 2013

Technology uses extremely cold temperatures to treat breast cancer Multi-center trial enrolls first patients

Samsung's tablet ultrasound can diagnose patients en route to hospital The technology can prove crucial when seconds matter

Ultrasound-powered chip monitors diseases and delivers therapies May be able to study nervous system and treat Parkinson's symptoms

Celgene invests in Sequenta's MRD test Test will participate in trials to create blood cancer medicine

AFT calls for improved Ebola hospital protocols Meanwhile, 43 people in Texas are removed from Ebola watch list

Americans with insurance still not going to doctor Will making cost and quality information transparent be the solution?

Mass. health care cost transparency law underperforming Pricing still murky after transparency law introduced

Pure barium

What's causing the barium shortage?

by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor
An ongoing shortage of barium contrast media is expected to last a little while longer as the drug maker fills back orders, but the reason for the delay isn't widely known.

Supplies of some formulations of the agent, which is used for fluoroscopic exams of the stomach, gut and esophagus, have been scarce of late, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which helps track drug shortages, said on its website earlier this month.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

Delivering on Dose Reduction Promises

Dr. Steven Mendelsohn of Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, explains his commitment to dose reduction and why he believes a change in attitudes will be driven by patients rather than radiology professionals. Click to read more>>>



About a dozen barium sulfate products, including an E-Z Disk tablet for barium swallows and Liquid Polibar for the stomach or small bowel, are listed as unavailable.

"So far we haven't heard from any (of our) radiology groups that there are major delays but it is causing additional difficulties because patients might need to take an alternative," said Erin Fox, a pharmacist and the director of the drug information service with the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics in Salt Lake City. Her team supplied the ASHP with information on the issue.

Bracco Diagnostics, the distributor of the products, blamed the shortage on a mix of increased demand and "delays" from one of its suppliers.

Fox said the company has not provided more details, but that the dearth of information about what's causing the delay is common to drug shortages, as manufacturers generally are reluctant to provide a lot of data.

"It's very frustrating, but it's also the most common frustration we run into with drug shortages," she said. "This is not unique."

Jeremy Enfinger, who blogs at Topics in Radiology, speculated in a December post that new safety regulations in Chinese barite (barium sulfate) mines, which have led to decreased production of barite, might have something to do with the barium shortage. (China supplies about half the world's barite, according to a Rigzone article Enfinger cites.)

Fox said her organization has been tracking drug shortages since 2001, and this is the first barium shortage they've encountered in that time. It's also somewhat unusual in that most shortages are often for old, generic injectables like morphine, she said. But in other ways the barium products meet the profile of drugs at risk for shortages, because they're generally supplied by only one company, Bracco.

"They're really the only game in town," she said.

American College of Radiology said on its website it believes production on the barium products resumed in November, but Bracco still had to work through its back orders. In its letter to customers last fall, Bracco warned that "with increased demand on all barium products, we may see further supply issues."

Fox said it's not clear when supplies would be back to normal, so it's best to check with wholesalers for updates.

"(Bracco) can't estimate a specific date but they have resumed production and they're trying to fill orders as they come up," she said. "So they just recommend to keep checking from the people you buy this product from."

Related:


Interested in Medical Industry News? Subscribe to DOTmed's weekly news email and always be informed. Click here, it takes just 30 seconds.

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment

Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to DOTmed.com, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2014 DOTmed.com, Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED