Comprehensive Pharmacy Services Advises Hospitals To Plan for a Protracted Intravenous Saline Shortage

Friday, January 31, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Largest Hospital Pharmacy Services Provider Issues Advisory to Over 400 Facilities Nationwide

Memphis, TN – January 31, 2014: Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), the nation’s
largest pharmacy services provider, issued an advisory to its more than 400 hospitals and
health systems clients throughout the country to prepare for a protracted intravenous (IV) saline
shortage, and provided a three-part plan to help them manage the critical shortage.

“We’ve been doing this for 40 years, and we don’t see a clearly defined end to the current
intravenous saline shortage so we are calling on the healthcare facilities we serve to take
immediate action to help effectively manage through this crisis,” said Marvin Finnefrock, Pharm.
D., Divisional Vice President for Clinical Services. “It can’t be business as usual because the
shortage is lasting longer than expected, so hospitals have to immediately focus energy, beyond
finding the scarce supply, on managing what they have and engaging in thoughtful measures to
best serve their patients.”

Dr. Finnefrock explained that the IV saline shortage is particularly concerning because it is one
of the most commonly used drugs in patient treatments. “As other avenues are pursued, such
as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) working with the manufacturers to step up
production or the federal government releasing some emergency stockpiles, those solutions
have hurdles and are well outside the control of healthcare providers, so they need to take
matters into their own hands, as well,” Dr. Finnefrock added.

CPS is advising that medical, nursing and pharmacy staff work together on a three-part
approach to manage through the IV saline shortage:

1. Conservation: Immediately conduct a wastage review in all areas where IV saline is
routinely used without a specific direct indication, for example, in elective procedural
areas and emergency departments, and set up basic guidelines leading to conservation
of a limited resource.

2. Substitution: Hospitals should put in place plans for adequate substitution regimens as
indicated, in case the shortage worsens or lasts for a prolonged period of time. This,
however, requires careful oversight from a qualified pharmacy and clinician team to
safely and effectively use substitutions on a patient-by-patient basis.

3. Communication: Implement a timely communication plan to all clinical staff involved in
ordering or administering IV saline, keeping them informed of the status of the shortage
and supplies available to the facility. The goal of the communication is to engage staff in
conservation efforts and keep them informed of actions planned by clinical leadership to
mitigate shortage challenges.

About Comprehensive Pharmacy Services:

Employing over 1,800 pharmacy professionals, CPS is the nation’s largest provider of pharmacy
services to more than 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities leading to sustainable improved
quality and reduced cost. CPS services include pharmacy consulting, inpatient and outpatient
pharmacy management, telepharmacy and transition of care services. For more information,
visit www.cpspharm.com.

Contact:

Greg Wenthe
Vice President, Marketing
Comprehensive Pharmacy Services greg.wenthe@cpspharm.com
(901) 748-0470