Thursday, August 24, 2017

Important Notice for Doctors! Nitrous Oxide Shortage Continues for Healthcare

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As many practitioners know, late last year there was an explosion at a plant that was one of the largest manufacturers of nitrous oxide in the United States.  For about 3 or 4 months, nitrous was occasionally ini short supply.  In fact, it became enough of an issue that the FDA stepped in to make sure that healthcare providers were given priority over deliveries.
Things seemed to even out about March of 2017 and supplies were such that any time we ordered nitrous oxide, there was never a concern.
However a couple of weeks ago we placed an order for a cylinder of oxygen and a cylinder of nitrous.  At the time we were told the nitrous supply was fluctuating and that they were currently out.  They assured us we would receive a cylinder as soon as they had one.
The next week our delivery truck arrived, but instead of our usual K cylinder size we received a Q cylinder.  This means that instead of 225cf of nitrous we are now holding 80cf.
Why this shortage has recurred 5 months after it was supposedly over is anyone’s guess.  The ADA contacted Airgas, the company that manufactures nitrous oxide and asked a spokeswoman to confirm a timeline.  She stated she could not.  The best she could do was state “a full capacity throughout the Airgas supply chain is anticipated to return to normal by the end of 3Q 2017.”
I checked the FDA website, and found the following statement:  “Bulk liquid is currently available and distribution to packaged gas locations continues to improve.  A return to full capacity throughout the Airgas supply chain is anticipated to return to normal by end of 3Q 2017.”
I just wanted to make doctors aware that a nitrous shortage does exist for the foreseeable future.  Hopefully by October (the start of Q4 2-17) we will see supply levels returning to normal.  

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