After monthslong dearth, GE Healthcare plugs $80M into making contrast media

After GE Healthcare's Shanghai plant momentarily closed in May for COVID-19 lockdowns, hospitals were forced to ration contrast dye, a product necessary for millions of CT scans and X-rays, and postpone some operations for months. 

The plant has been operating at 100 percent since this summer, but to boost its overall supply, the world's main contrast dye supplier invested $80 million into increasing its contrast media production by 30 percent at its site in Lindesnes, Norway. The company planned the investment because of the predicted surge in global demand.

Kevin O'Neill, the president and CEO of GE Healthcare's pharmaceutical diagnostics division, said in a statement the company expects demand for the product to double in the next 10 years because of the "global prevalence of chronic disorders and significant growth in CT procedures."

Annually, healthcare providers perform about 300 million CT scans, but this was hindered during the summer after one facility closed, highlighting the vulnerability of the global supply of the iodine solution.  

GE Healthcare said it plans to boost its contrast dye supply by 30 million more doses by 2025. 

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