Contrast dye shortage will last until September, AHA leader says

The global shortage of iodinated contrast dye, which has forced hospitals to postpone CT scans and other imaging procedures since May, will last until the end of September, the American Hospital Association's senior director of supply chain told Becker's

The hiccup began May 11, when a COVID-19 shutdown halted production in a GE Healthcare factory in Shanghai. GE revamped its production levels nearly a month later, but when Becker's asked for a projected timeline, a spokesperson declined to specify a date. 

Mike Schiller, who works for the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management, a branch of the AHA, said one of the solutions hospitals are employing is causing another flutter in the supply chain. 

"As a result of the contrast media shortage, we are hearing of health care systems shifting essential CT scans to MRIs when an MRI is an appropriate alternative," Mr. Schiller said. "This has created an unexpected increase in demand for Gadolinium, the contrast agent used for MRI procedures."

Mr. Schiller said nearly half of U.S. hospitals rely on GE for contrast media — a startling statistic for the millions of people who undergo CT scans every year to detect cancer and other diseases. 

In response to the shortage, some hospitals and health systems have been using less contrast dye, and a recent study found that hospitals could use up to 83 percent less of the product.

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