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October, 2021 Quick Question: Blue-top Tube Shortage

Our October 2021 Quick Question asked, “How are you managing the blue-top tube shortage?” We had a brisk response with 22 participants answering as follows:

  1. We have seen no shortage: 32% [7]
  2. Purchase control plasmas: 0%
  3. Alternate tube source: 41% [9]
  4. Prep our own tubes: 9% [2]
  5. Reduce coag orders. 18% [4]

Although a third of our respondents saw no shortage, many looked for alternate tube sources. There were reports of sub-standard “counterfeit” tubes, but most were able to take advantage of a July FDA ruling that encourages the purchase of quality offshore tubes. Few prepped their own tubes, although several sources for this relatively simple solution were available. apparently a few were able to reduce coagulation testing orders, an issue addressed in a September 2021 ASCLS Choosing Wisely recommendation.

George imagined that many of us would use this opportunity to discontinue internal control plasma preparation in favor of commercial controls. No one chose this alternative, implying, perhaps, that we are already using purchased controls.


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