Hospitals running out of medicines needed for intubation

Hospitals running out of medicines needed for intubation
Photo: FJZEA/Shutterstock

After struggling with a lack of intensive care units, Brazilian hospitals are facing a new challenge: they are rapidly running out of sedatives and muscle relaxants used to intubate high-risk patients who need mechanical ventilators, according to newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo. 

Specialists say this is largely down to the hike in demand for these drugs, which require long-term administration, and the high costs related to expanding supply. Overall, the demand for this sort of medicine has grown 700 percent in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. In at least two states — Rio de Janeiro and Amapá — there are investigations in place to conclude whether people died because of the lack of these drugs. In Rio hospitals, medicine shortages may have killed at least seven patients.

On May 14, the National Council of State Health Secretaries (Conass) requested government support to expand drug purchases — but have obtained no response. Another request was made on May 29. Local administrations are currently responsible for a large share of these purchases.

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