COVID-19 supply chain woes extend to medical supplies, blood collection tubes

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The U.S. health regulator said on Wednesday it was expanding the medical device shortage list to include all blood specimen collection tubes due to supply challenges led by an increase in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and vendor issues.

The Food and Drug Administration also advised healthcare and laboratory personnel to minimize the use of blood collection tubes by performing blood draws only if medically necessary and consider sharing samples between lab departments if specimens are already available.

The regulator had in June added only sodium citrate tubes to the shortage list.

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It had issued an emergency use authorization a month later for Becton Dickinson’s sodium citrate blood specimen collection tubes to better identify and treat bleeding disorder in patients with known or suspected COVID-19.

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“The FDA continues to monitor the current situation to help ensure blood testing remains available for patients where testing is medically necessary,” the regulator said.

The FDA added it recommends only tubes that are cleared by its authorizations be used for blood sample collection.

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