Washington, D.C.-– This week, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) joined 29 Members of Congress on a letter led by Representative Michelle Steel (CA-48) to President Biden about the ongoing supply chain crisis and the shortage of intravenous contrast fluids at hospitals nationwide.
Emmer said, “The longer the Biden Administration waits to act on this worsening shortage, more patients are unable to receive care for potentially life-threatening health concerns. We are again paying the price for relying on foreign rivals for essential goods.”
Intravenous contrast fluids are necessary to perform Computed Tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect cancer, diagnose trauma injuries, and identify clots in the brain or heart. It is estimated that 50 million exams with contrast dyes are performed every year in the United States.
“With the lack of intravenous contrast fluids and the potential for further depletion, many physicians and patients could continue facing delays in the detection of diseases like cancer. We urge your Administration to immediately deploy a whole of government response and work directly with stakeholders to resolve this shortage,” the Members wrote.
“Further, we understand that the shortage of intravenous contrast fluids has risen from lockdowns by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and our nation’s dependency on Chinese-made medical products. It is imperative that you prioritize efforts to domestically produce medical products such as intravenous contrast fluids and reduce federal barriers that prevent disbursement of needed medical products.”
The ongoing supply chain crisis, combined with the recent COVID-19 related lockdowns in China, has further delayed the delivery and availability of these products. Products like Visipaque and Omnipaque, manufactured in Shanghai, have fallen up to 80%.
Experts expect these delays to last throughout the summer months. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner said the shortage of these products was “just unbelievable,” and highlighted the inability of some Americans suffering from major health events from receiving proper testing and care because of the delay.