Shanghai Lockdowns Create Healthcare Supply Shortages

Global health care services are being disrupted because of the Covid-19 policies imposed by Shanghai

The Covid-19 policies imposed by Shanghai are disrupting health care services halfway around the world. These challenges are causing shortages in both quality and quantity. This is a big problem forcing countries to take drastic measures to resolve it.

As a result of a chemical shortage, New York hospitals are unable to perform imaging tests due to the lack of chemicals

A shortage of chemicals affects hospitals in New York to perform imaging tests. It is a warning that all clinicians, pharmacy supply and laboratory managers, and administrators should be heeded.

The New York region hospitals have found themselves on edge after a shortage of chemicals used for X-ray and scanning procedures. This is attributed to a lockdown of some of the biggest chemical manufacturers in China.

A lockdown in China’s largest city has snarled global supply chains for more than five weeks

As China’s most populated city, Shanghai may seem like the last place you’d look to find a healthcare supply shortage. Far from it. A five-week-long Covid lockdown has squeezed global critical healthcare supply chain relations and impacted trade hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

A GE Healthcare factory in Shanghai produces an iodinated contrast medium called Omnipaque, which is in short supply in healthcare facilities

When China cracked down on baby formula in 2008, the world was shocked. The problem has continued to worsen, and another commodity is now scarce. This time it’s not milk but a brand of iodinated contrast medium known as Omnipaque. It’s produced at a GE Healthcare factory in Shanghai closed for five weeks due to strict Covid policies.

What Is Omnipaque?

Omnipaque is an intravenous contrast agent used for MRI scans to enhance the visibility of soft tissue structures during an exam. It is made from iodine-based compounds and can be administered orally or intravenously (IV).

Omnipaque is a brand of contrast agent. It improves the visibility of cross-sectional images of blood vessels and internal organs during medical imaging, such as CT scans and MRIs.

Omnipaque is a nonionic water-soluble contrast agent that uses low osmolarity and nonionic surfactant to reduce nephrotoxicity while maintaining adequate opacification properties. Omnipaque is indicated for diagnostic use with angiography procedures involving intravenous contrast media administration in adults and pediatric patients above one year of age.

Omnipaque is supplied as 300mg or 400mg single-use vials containing 300mg or 400mg of Omnipaque 10% Injection (Isovue) (iopamidol injection).

There are currently no alternatives available for Omnipaque in Europe or the U.S., leaving doctors without options other than using alternative imaging methods like CAT scans or ultrasound. However, these methods do not provide as clear results as MRIs when diagnosing some conditions — especially those involving blood vessels or organs within the body cavity such as the liver, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys.

Why Is Omnipaque So Essential?

Hospitals and clinics are not able to meet the needs of patients. They have been requesting their patients to bring their own medical supplies, but it is not enough, as many people don’t have the required drugs.

Omnipaque is a contrast agent used in X-rays and other medical imaging procedures. It allows physicians to see blood vessels, tumors, or other internal body structures more clearly during an X-ray or CT scan. Omnipaque is also used to treat kidney disease and other conditions where urine flow is blocked.

The drug has become essential because when mixed with water and injected into a patient’s vein, it expands up to 100 times its original volume within seconds, allowing physicians to see blood vessels and tumors clearly in X-rays or CT scans.

Even though the factory has now resumed production once again, supplies may be curtailed by up to 80% for the next two months

The Shanghai Lockdowns have caused a shortage of healthcare supplies, and it’s not clear when they’ll be back in stock. Supplies may be curtailed by as much as 80% for the next two months, even though the GE Healthcare factory has resumed production in May 2024.

This is partly due to the fact that many Chinese companies are unable to acquire the raw materials necessary to make their products from suppliers outside of China or from other parts of the country. The government has placed heavy restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Shanghai due to Covid policies, making it difficult for manufacturers to get their goods where they need them.

Currently, the providers are rationing the stock they have on hand for essential purposes only whilst searching for alternative suppliers

The closure of ports in Shanghai has created a healthcare supply shortage that is causing providers to ration existing stock for essential use only while seeking out other healthcare suppliers such as the Seattle-based health tech startup bttn, who is using big data insights and pricing transparency to help hospitals stay ahead of any/all supply chain shortages. In addition, these closures have also increased demand for certain medical products and equipment, driving up prices and creating stock shortages.

Patients should consider alternative scanning tests when undergoing a scan

In the aftermath of the recent lockdowns in Shanghai, some hospitals and clinics have been forced to cancel or postpone scheduled appointments.

As a result, some patients are forced to reschedule their scans and tests. While this is certainly inconvenient for those affected, it may also be dangerous for their health.

Here are some alternative scanning tests for patients who cannot get their usual scans:

X-Ray Scanning: X-ray scanning is an image-based technique that uses radiation to produce images of internal body structures. It is typically used to diagnose bone fractures, other skeletal injuries, and soft tissue disorders such as tumors and inflammation of bowel diseases.

Ultrasound Scanning: Ultrasound scanning uses high-frequency sound waves to build up an image of internal organs in real-time. This technique helps physicians identify potential problems such as tumors or blood clots within the body before they become severe enough to cause symptoms like pain or swelling.

CT Scanning: CT scanning uses X-rays and computer technology to create three-dimensional pictures of internal organs in the human body. This technique is mainly used to detect cancers and other medical conditions that would otherwise go undetected during routine physical exams or blood tests performed by doctors.

Steps to increase production include: continuing to increase production round the clock until as soon as the authorities permit it, using other plants around the world for the production of the product, and increasing production to full capacity as quickly as possible

The Chinese government has been taking steps to increase the production of critical medications, but the shortages are still expected to continue for some time. The government has set up a task force to address the problem and works with international drug companies to increase capacity.

The steps include:

  • Working around the clock to increase capacity.
  • Utilizing other global plants for production.
  • Increasing output as soon as the authorities allow it.

The Chinese government continues to follow its Covid-Zero policy, which affects other vendors, such as Tesla and Apple, as well

China’s Covid-Zero strategy is designed to eliminate the spread of Covid. At this time, they are dealing with the worst outbreak of Covid yet. Their steps to eliminate the spread are considered unsustainable and draconian. Since there seems to be a continued variant of the virus, these measures are inappropriate.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]