US hospitals face severe ventilator drugs shortage

US hospitals have dramatically increased their orders for essential drugs needed by ventilated patients, while New York State has become the new epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, with deaths exceeding the province of Hubei.

The potential shortage of 13 drugs could make it more difficult for doctors to place coronavirus patients on devices to help them breathe, even if the U.S. government manages to buy, borrow, or make the tens of thousands of additional respirators available. requires.

The demand for drugs that calm patients to help them cope with breathing tubes exploded this month, according to data from Vizient, a health services company that works with half of hospitals in the United States.

As orders have grown, the proportion that has been satisfied has dropped, which means that wholesalers do not have enough supplies to meet demand.

Dan Kistner, group senior vice president, pharmacy solutions at Vizient, said orders that were not fully executed showed that the United States was “heading for a major shortage of needed drugs for patients who need of a fan ”.

“What we are seeing now is some products that are in short supply and others that are in a very tight market,” he said.

Demand for sedatives and anesthetics increased by 51% in March compared to the same period in January, before the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States. Today, only 63% of these orders have been filled. For painkillers, a kind of painkiller, demand increased by 67%. Orders for neuromuscular blockers, which relax the muscles, increased by 39%.

The search for respirators has become at the heart of every country’s preparation for the coronavirus pandemic, as many hospital patients need help with breathing – and the time they spend on machines is much longer than the patient medium in intensive care.

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, said last week that he needed “fans, fans, fans”. He responded to accusations that he overestimated the state’s need for up to 40,000 fans, saying Tuesday that at $ 25,000 each, he would not spend New York money on them if they did not. were not necessary.

The increased demand for these drugs comes after hospitals bought hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, antimalarials that some, including President Donald Trump, had touted as potential treatments for Covid-19, despite scarce evidence.

Wholesale distributors have started rationing drugs, and many state pharmacy boards have put restrictions in place to prioritize patients who are already taking them for conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Hospitals have also stocked up on inhalers, like those used by people with asthma, due to fears of placing infectious patients on devices called nebulizers, which could spread the disease to nearby patients or staff.

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