Shortage of GE medical colorants is felt beyond the United States as a German hospital is affected


FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A shortage of dyes for medical scanners produced by General Electric’s healthcare unit in China is affecting regions beyond the United States, with a German hospital now warned of a shortage of supply.

GE Healthcare, through a spokesperson, said on Wednesday that the week-long outage at the company’s production facility in Shanghai due to the city’s COVID-19 lockdown does not affect not just American hospitals, but also other parts of the world that she did not specify, although to a lesser extent.

Some of the largest US hospitals braced for critical shortages this week and the GE unit responded by ramping up contract worker production at its plant in Ireland and sending products by air freight to meet demand.

The German Hospital Association told Reuters on Wednesday that one of its members had been alerted by the GE unit that its contrast agent could be out of stock in June, citing the Shanghai outage.

A spokesperson for the hospital association did not provide further details and said it was uncertain whether diagnostic procedures would have to be canceled or how much the affected hospital could dip into inventories. .

“We are working around the clock to expand the capacity of our iodinated contrast media, including leveraging our global manufacturing network,” the GE spokesperson said, adding that the company would keep customers informed.

Dr. Geoff Rubin is the head of the clinical department of medical imaging.

A guest on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Thursday, he says that fortunately radiologists have a number of methods they can fall back on to perform imaging and that this particular shortage simply limits their abilities rather than restricting them. completely stop.

“This shortage of iodinated contrast material is like having a black and white photograph as opposed to color. We can still use CT to see a lot of things, but some of the things that really depend on those color differences require us to use other tools like ultrasound or MRI,” Rubin said.

Rubin went on to say that the procedures should not be postponed and that being prepared and aware of the shortage has allowed them to ensure that they are taking care of patients in the best possible way.

“Priority is given to the most pressing issues and people who need enhanced contrast studies will get it. There is no complete succession in the availability of contrast material, it is just a reduction in availability. Rubin said.

GE said this week that the Shanghai plant has now reopened after several weeks of closure due to local COVID policies, but is not yet fully up to date.

Bayer, which competes with GE Healthcare in contrast media, said it did not face a similar situation and was taking steps to provide “additional volumes” to ease shortages.

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