Pharmacy staff make hand sanitizer to supply Augusta University

sanitizer bottles
Pharmacy staff has begun making hand sanitizer to keep the hospital stocked during a national shortage.

As suppliers run out of hand sanitizer across the country and Augusta University’s shipments of Purell became increasingly delayed, pharmacy resident Kelli Keats developed a plan to make sure AU stays fully stocked.

Keats and a few of her colleagues began making hand sanitizer in-house on Tuesday. They produced about 12 gallons by Wednesday morning.

“We have 200-proof ethanol in the hospital that they use for research purposes,” Keats said. “We take that and combine it with hydrogen peroxide, glycerin and sterile water. And that’s how we make our hand sanitizer.”

man holding sanitizer
Pharmacy tech Herb Hall holds the first batch of hand sanitizer produced by the Augusta University pharmacy.

The recipe was produced by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), an organization that standardizes drugs. In the face of increasing shortages in antibacterial products like hand sanitizer, the USP produced approved recipes hospitals and other organizations could follow to make their own.

Keats compared the recipes with the ingredients Augusta University has and would be able to continue to purchase, as other ingredients are more difficult to acquire, again due to shortages.

“We looked at what the suggestions were and what we were going to be able to do, and figured out a recipe that would work for us,” Keats said.

Employees in the facilities department bring empty bottles from the wall-mounted dispensers throughout the hospital to be refilled. Each bottle holds 1200 milliliters.

Keats said the process isn’t very complicated, though figuring out the logistics such as collecting and distributing the bottles and gathering all the materials was challenging at times.

“I think we’re ready to go. We’re making it work,” she said. “We have ordered lots more supplies so hopefully we’ll be able to keep this up for as long as we need to.”


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Written by
Lisa Kaylor

Lisa Kaylor is the Lead Communications and Media Coordinator for AU Health. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-5292 or

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Written by Lisa Kaylor

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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