B. Braun invests $1 billion to end IV fluid shortages in the U.S.

May 15, 2019

Solutions for Life is a new program from B. Braun Medical, Inc. that will help expand IV fluid capacity and ensure the life-saving fluid is available when healthcare providers need it. Following Hurricane Maria in 2017 – considered by many to be a wake-up call for suppliers – the infusion therapy and pain management company said in a release that it began discussions with hospitals, policymakers, supply-chain leaders and others to expedite its plans and take the lead to create sustainable and reliable solutions to help meet future IV fluid supply needs.

“IV fluids are a fundamental component of patient care to hydrate patients, administer drugs, and replace lost blood volume. In recent years, the U.S. market has seen destructive weather events and severe influenza seasons contributing to major nationwide IV fluid shortages,” said Maria Angela Karpf, MD, Corporate Vice President, B. Braun Medical Inc., in a statement. “These shortages forced healthcare professionals and facilities to delay patient treatments or use alternate techniques.”

Solutions for Life required a $1 billion investment which includes a new and enhanced IV therapy manufacturing facilities including a new state-of-the-art facility in Daytona Beach, FL, and modernizations to existing facilities in Irvine, CA, and Allentown, PA.

Caroll H. Neubauer, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of B. Braun Medical Inc. announced the Solutions for Life initiative during a stakeholder briefing and panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on May 14, 2019. Legislative leaders and key partners across the healthcare supply chain were in attendance, including Vizient Inc.’s Senior Vice President for sourcing operations, David Gillan.

“B. Braun hosted a panel that represented a broad variety of perspectives from multiple stakeholders – e.g., pharmacists, home infusion, nurses, providers, distributors, GPOs, etc.,” Gillan told Healthcare Purchasing News after the discussion.  “As you know, the industry faced significant challenges in recent years maintaining a sufficient supply of IV solutions, especially in the face of natural disasters and other challenges. These shortages really hit our provider members hard – at all levels, from non-acute facilities, to children’s hospitals, to small community health care organizations, to large AMCs & IDNs.”

“The IV fluid shortages in recent years significantly impacted us, especially nurses who experienced the personal heartache of telling patients and their caregivers that fluids were not available,” said Felicia Schaps, RN, president of the Infusion Nurses Society, in a statement. “We welcome these investments to expand IV fluid production and, just as important, the opportunity for stakeholders across the healthcare system to come together to explore additional steps to prevent future shortages.”

During those shortage periods, Gillan, also a panel member during the B. Braun stakeholders meeting, told HPN that Vizient took a variety of steps to help members as best they could: “We worked with them to find alternative therapies and conservation methods. We brought our provider members and suppliers together to develop new care delivery methods, along with the necessary change management models to successfully implement those methods. And we worked on various advocacy efforts with the FDA, such as helping safely extend the shelf life of existing product and encouraging the importation of additional products to enter our supply chain. Learning from that experience, we applaud B. Braun and other suppliers who are working across multiple stakeholders to mitigate – and hopefully prevent – any future supply disruption.”

B. Braun’s Solutions for Life will:

Expand capacity of critical IV fluid production at two large-scale IV fluid production facilities and expanded capacity to manufacture and distribute IV therapy devices:

·   A new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Daytona Beach, FL and new distribution facility.

·   Modernizations to its existing manufacturing facility in Irvine, CA.

·   Expansion of its IV therapy device manufacturing facility in Allentown, PA

·   Enhancements to existing distribution facilities in Ontario, CA and Breinigsville, PA

B. Braun offers a full line of IV solution products free of PVC and DEHP, and IV fluid bags that are safe for patients and the environment (land-fill neutral).

B. Braun also obtained FDA approval of IV fluids from European facilities should the need arise in the future.