Mar 30, 2022 - Health

Shortages stretch across health care supply chain

Animation of a shipping container with a loading screen on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Surgical supplies for chest drainage, fluids required for dialysis and even old-fashioned hot and cold packs are among a list of items in shortage across health care, group purchasing organization Premier told Axios.

Why it matters: Sustained, high-level supply chain shortages have stretched across all areas of health care. And they are expected to continue through the end of 2022, David Hargraves, senior vice president of Premier said.

  • While it's natural for supply chains to have backorders and shortages, about eight to 10 times as many items are in short supply at any given time compared to before the pandemic, he said.
  • Additional products like disposal containers for needles, sterile gloves and ECG electrode cables have been put on Premier's watch list.

What's happening: Inflation, the way simultaneous outbreaks of COVID in China slowed some production and shipping, and the conflict in Ukraine are contributing to the disruptions.

What to watch: The semiconductor market, which relies on neon, of which Ukraine is a major producer, Hargraves said. Supplies aren't short yet, but there are longer lead times.

  • "They are in pretty much every electronic medical device," Hargraves said.
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