Blood Collection Shortages – What this means

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Yet another supply chain issue from the pandemic  has arisen from the main suppliers of vacuum blood collection serum tubes. Working with our largest pathology providers has proven that big companies are not always the better companies. It may be surprising to many that something seemingly insignificant like a blood collection tube can have such an enormous impact, and on such a global scale.

Even grabbing the attention of the FDA, the sodium citrate light blue cap tube was listed on their device shortage list. This was listed as due to an increase in demand combined with supplier challenges with supply chain. Now, this has extended to all types, with the most problematic being the 8.5 and 5mL tube, which is a serum gel tube and is most popular for biochemistry analysis.

With many vendors following market shifts and prioritising high-demand items such as Rapid Antigen Tests to the expense of blood collection accessories, PCR consumables, analytical consumables and more, by the time the demand has abated, the global market is left floundering for consumables.  Further to this, underlying is a strong current bringing shortages of raw material, sky-rocketing oil costs and a very volatile international market.

The concern is that continuing demand from the main suppliers can result in dominating markets such as the United States and Germany holding back exports to support their own health systems. 

Just-in-time inventories are good when supply is stable and reliable, however in the current climate is risky, and avoided by most who have the resources to stockpile where practical. The market has been the same for many other lines, and the vacutainer shortage typifies Covid-19 procurement pattern: demand outweighs supply, procurement frameworks drastically change, supply catches up, vendors are re-assessed, and availability returns to normal.

On the other hand, Westlab encourage out-of-the-box solutions. Speak to our team today, to see our range of blood collection tubes and devices with special allocations and fast turnaround.


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