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Doctors in Israel Scrambling to Avert Epidural Shortage

Oct 11, 2022

On Tuesday, a leading anesthesiologist in Israel said that doctors and nurses were working round the clock in order to avert a possible shortage of epidurals in the country.

Last week, the Israel Society of Anesthesiologist had reached out to the Health Ministry to raise the topic of supply problems of epidurals, which gave rise to concerns about its availability amongst pregnant women.


Since then, thousands of inquiries have been made to the Israel Midwives Association from women who are worried about a possible shortage of supply.

On Tuesday, the Association released a statement to reassure pregnant women that anyone who wants an epidural will not have to give birth without it.

The Obstetric Anesthesia Unit’s director at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Prof. Carolyn Weiniger said that there was a great deal of confusion surrounding the difficulty of the situation.

She said that supply had been disrupted and if it is not resolved, then they would likely run out of their existing epidural stock in the next two months.

However, she disclosed that the problems in supply were associated with one company; Portex, which is responsible for supplying 90% of the epidurals in Israel.

Other companies

She also added that there were other companies that they could explore for sourcing epidurals and she, along with a number of other medical professionals, were looking into the matter.

They were obtaining and testing epidurals from these other companies. She said that they would seek regulatory approval for models that turn out to be satisfactory.

The doctor said that this could happen quickly, particularly if the epidurals in question are in use in other countries.

Weiniger said that they were working day and night to ensure they could get epidurals from other countries on planes to test and approve them.

Future forecast

A statement was also issued by the Midwives Association in which it said that they were just concerned about the future forecast because difficulty in production and supply could lead to shortage of stock.

It said that they hoped it would not happen and they were doing everything possible to prevent it. It added that there would not be a situation where a woman wanting epidural would have to give birth without it.

International supplies were disrupted due to the shortages, which is believed to because of the lack of supply of blue dye that is utilized in syringes.

Weiniger said that a number of countries around the world were facing these supply issues, but they had managed to get back on track somewhere along the way.

She said that they could not figure out how their own had been derailed and were working to fix it. She asserted that they had enough time before the stock runs out to get alternative supplies approved.

Moreover, she also commented that there was no reason in theory for patient care to suffer because of the shortage in supply.

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