By Lynne Adkins

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — A critical shortage of a key hospital supply has been a problem for months, and federal officials say there’s no end in sight.

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Hospitals use clear plastic bags of saline solution, administered intravenously, to keep patients hydrated.

But saline solution has been in short supply since demand spiked during flu season (see previous story).

Capt. Valerie Jensen, the associate director for drug shortages at the US Food and Drug Administration, says demand remains high.

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“The shortage we expect to continue to improve, especially with these overseas supplies, which will help patients have additional sources.  And it’s important to note that the FDA has evaluated those overseas sources very carefully,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Jensen says manufacturers in the United States have increased production, and new overseas sources have been secured, and that is helping.  But, she says, she has no idea when supply will meet or exceed demand.


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