Other than toilet paper, few items are in higher demand amid the COVID-19 outbreak than hand sanitizer, so it stands to reason companies that assemble sanitizer containers are having trouble getting needed materials at a quantity that meets demand.
For Goleta-based company Life-Like Cosmetics, the real challenge it faces getting units of its sanitizer brand Sprixx assembled is an industry-wide shortage of alcohol.
Dr. Rodney Ogrin, founder of Life-Like Cosmetics, told the News-Press that his company has been seeking new supplies of alcohol for three weeks, while also reaching out to alcohol manufacturers to no avail.
Sprixx specializes in personal point of care hand sanitizer dispensers that doctors can attach to their belts, saving a trip to a wall-mounted dispenser. Life-Like Cosmetics supplies doctors at famous California hospitals like UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital with Sprixx, and Dr. Ogrin said that local hospitals have recently approached him seeking his company’s sanitizer.
However, Life-Like Cosmetics hasn’t been able to send the hospitals anything.
“Cottage Hospital has been reaching out to me and we’re unable to provide them product,” Dr. Ogrin said.
Sprixx units are assembled at Noble Laboratories in Ventura, which the facility’s manager Jerry Rous said is waiting “in queue” to receive new shipments from alcohol suppliers. As he sees it, the industry-wide shortage of alcohol is “not really created by anything other than the virus itself,” as companies with a history of producing hand sanitizer have increased their usual orders to meet demand during this crisis.
In addition, companies without history of producing sanitizer have taken advantage of the situation by jumping on the proverbial bandwagon and starting — as the number of orders at Noble Laboratories far exceeds those from last year.
“Our orders are through the roof compared to what they were two months ago,” Mr. Rous said.
If waiting on alcohol supplies weren’t enough, Life-Like Cosmetics is also waiting on Noble Laboratories receiving shipments of a special pump that goes into Sprixx dispensers. Those pumps come from China, and have thus been slow to ship as the country tries to deal with the virus.
Dr. Ogrin expects the pumps to arrive by the end of April, a delivery date he was told by a supplier in China.
When asked how certain he is of the end-of-month delivery, Dr. Ogrin stated, “There’s no guarantee, but this is a very confident company that I work with and I trust that the product will show up.”
Though Life-Like Cosmetics went through the H1N1 outbreak, the COVID-19 coronavirus is an entirely different beast. Whereas Dr. Ogrin was able to receive alcohol supplies for Sprixx during the 2009 pandemic, the COVID-19 crisis has not only stalled production of his company’s sanitizer, but its other specialty: teeth whitening products.
Just as Life-Like Cosmetics supplies hospitals with Sprixx, it also sends dentists tooth care products. That aspect of Life-Like Cosmetics has suffered for the opposite reason as Sprixx. Whereas high demand for hand sanitizer has overwhelmed Sprixx’s alcohol suppliers, there’s now little demand for teeth whitening products as people have by in large ceased visiting dentists’ offices to avoid close contact. As shifting focus to the dental side of Life-Like Cosmetic’s can’t make up for its stalled sanitizer production, it seems that waiting for materials it needs really is the only option left.