Celebrities have been feeling the heat from the public for depleting our nation’s supply of IV vitamins.
Notable names such as Simon Cowell and Madonna have been linked to these nutrient-rich drips that make you feel and look younger. The fad has taken Hollywood by storm and the drips are now becoming popular for their restorative properties including being used as a hangover cure. Pop singer, Rhianna, even went as far as posting a picture getting treatment via her Twitter account.
Why are people outraged about this IV vitamin therapy?
The companies that supply IV ingredients to hospitals are selling the same ingredients to private clinics. Where the problem lies is that there is no centralized database that can direct these precious treatments to the people that need them most. Hospitals are struggling to keep up with demand and as a result many are at risk, including premature infants who rely on vitamin supplements to keep them alive and healthy.
“It’s appalling that we are sacrificing the health of our babies for beauty, energy, and hangover relief,” clinical pharmacist Steve Plogsted, who chairs the drug-shortage task force of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition told the Washingtonian. “We’ve got babies’ lives hanging in the balance while we’re worried about getting through a hangover.”
According to the Washingtonian, at least 15 people have died.
Last week, the manufacturer of the most-used adult and pediatric IV multi-vitamin informed health systems that its product—which contains B and C vitamins, among others—is now in shortage. Medical professionals say that, as a result, intravenous B and C vitamins now may be in danger of also going into shortage. In the 1990s, a multi-vitamin shortage led to a widespread thiamin (vitamin B-1) deficiency that caused several deaths.
Amid this public-health crisis, private clinics around the country are using high doses of intravenous B and C vitamins, and other nutrients that are in shortage, for nonmedical purposes. In some cases, clinics are taking nutrients out of the same limited pool that supplies hospitals and home health-care agencies. In other cases, facilities are injecting clients with nutrients from sources that don’t meet hospital safety standards.
Hospitals are competing with other businesses for the same resources, one such business called Hangover Heaven, is a Las Vegas based company that operates buses equipped with as many as 15 IVs to help people after a long night of binge drinking. The problem isn’t with these businesses or private clinics that offer these expensive treatments, the problem lies with how these valuable resources for IV vitamin therapy are distributed.