What is Happening With Pipette Tip Shortages?

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Science – a very broad department of the world’s functioning and continuation, had a slap in the face through 2020. With no negative connotation on the performance of our scientific sectors, rather with fair and square aim at the escape of what seems to be the most infectious and dangerous pathogen to spread in years. While nobody saw it coming, the scientific world indeed over-excelled and continues to play its most vital part in combating the pandemic.

However, the one little niggle that the scientific world has had to face, and one which affects every aspect of pathogen handling and liquid handling, is the seeming absence of pipette tips. A humble piece of plastic which fires research, diagnostics, and in the history of blood tests, no blood has ever been tested without a pipette tip.

Supply Chain Issues

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Exactly so in the field of logistics. A series of disruptions along the logistics chain, hampered further by untimely events such as ships getting stuck, port workers selfishly going on strikes, general surges in demand for express logistics services, lockdowns, border tightening and the likes, all but completely cut off supply of pipette tips. Far from ideal in the middle of a global pandemic.

This is not just an inconvenience, but a serious handbrake to progress medically. Scenarios such as forcing experiments and research to halt, on highly important programs, which would be well on track to providing life-saving drugs or treatments for life-threatening conditions. The shortage is forcing organisations to prioritise one project over another, not due to any shortage in financial resource, but physical consumable resources.

As one laboratory leader commented, attempting to do science without them is a laughable suggestion.

Moving Forward

Manufacturers globally have faced astronomical levels of demand, in a global surge for plasticware. Demand has increased so much, prices for items such as pipette tips have in many cases doubled in price. Other consumables which constitute a massive part of everyday scientific operations in a lot of situations, such as nitrile gloves, have increased from as little as $5.00 per box of 100 by 500%, to around $25.00 per box. While this has improved as manufacturers regain capability, price is still hyperinflated since before the pandemic.

As supply picks up again, logistics begin to cope with international demand, projections show that the supply of these critical items will soon temporarily flood in. With massive backorders for most people, tips are at a premium like never before. However, this security of backorders still leaves two gaping holes: supply in the interim and supply when the pandemic is raging – including in other countries.

Where Do I Find Pipette Tips?

Westlab have consistent supplies incoming via air freight and sea freight. These are available to order online at www.westlab.com and www.westlab.com.au through our online shop.

Find a company such as Westlab with a strong sourcing and logistics capability, and who genuinely values integrity and transparency. This is crucial to finding good supply – not being misled – and remains a vital supply chain consideration.

Contact a specialist at Westlab via health@westlab.com for your bulk requirements, and we are always free to chat!


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