University of Michigan Students and Faculty Team Up to Fight Hand Sanitizer Shortage

On Thursday, March 19th, volunteers from the College of Pharmacy and Michigan Medicine Department of Pharmacy assembled to aid the U-M Health System’s critical need for hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Production began on the 6th floor of the University Hospital building and yielded 550 15 oz. bottles of sanitizer in just two days.

Dean Jim Dalton led the effort, procuring ingredients and setting up temporary compounding operations when the idea was presented to him by a faculty member. The team of volunteers was comprised of College of Pharmacy students, faculty, and Michigan Medicine staff members. They followed the FDA formula for compounding hand sanitizer, which was released to the public when sanitizer became harder to come by, and will continue production throughout the week as hospitals stock up to prepare for the of the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Based on past usage patterns, the [U-M] Health System uses about 4500 oz. of hand sanitizer per day, so this stock would be about a 2-day supply,” stated Stan Kent, Chief Pharmacy Officer at the U-M Health System and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the College of Pharmacy. “We do plan to continue compounding as long as we are able to procure ingredients. We are also investigating partnering with local distilleries, who have been approved for preparing hand sanitizer as well.” He went on to explain that they expect to produce 200-300 bottles per day with their current supply of resources.

“We haven’t ventured into making anything else just yet, but it’s difficult to say what new surprises this pandemic will bring to pharmacy,” said Jenn Erley, central pharmacy manager at Michigan Medicine and adjunct clinical instructor at the College of Pharmacy.