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2 Apr, 2020 13:46

European hospitals ‘running out’ of essential ICU meds for Covid-19, group warns

European hospitals ‘running out’ of essential ICU meds for Covid-19, group warns

European hospitals are running critically low on crucial medicines needed to treat Covid-19 patients in intensive care and some expect to run out of the necessary supplies in less than two weeks.

In a statement, the European University Hospital Alliance called on European governments to “intensify collaboration and coordination” for the supply of medical goods.

In addition to the need for more ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, it said the “most urgent need” is now for the drugs to treat ICU patients.

A survey of EUHA members found existing hospital stocks of muscle relaxants, sedatives and pain-killing drugs are being “consumed rapidly” and with insufficient and even “non-existing” resupply. It said stocks in some “hardest hit” hospitals could be empty in just two days.

Also on rt.com More than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe: AFP tally

The situation has led some hospitals across Europe to buy alternative drugs. The group said it was “extremely worrying that overworked and often less experienced nurses and doctors-in-training, drafted in to fill the gaps, have to use products and dosages that they are not used to.”

The statement also noted that some countries had responded to shortages by refusing the export, but not the import, of the drugs in question, but said this could prevent drugs from reaching hospitals in desperate need.

The EUHA added that “no single country in Europe has the production facilities to provide all of the drugs (or PPE, or ventilators) needed” and called for more cross-border collaboration.

A coordinated response will also be of “vital importance” to ensure any new or existing drugs proven to be effective against the Covid-19 virus are available to hospitals that need them most to “maximize the benefit.”

Also on rt.com Covid-19 deaths in Europe spike past 30,000 – AFP tally

On Thursday, the EU's industry chief Thierry Breton told France Inter radio that the bloc “foresaw there would be tensions over a number of medicines” and that pharmaceutical companies were doubling production to address shortages. “I think we're going to be able to address the situation,” he said, without offering further details.

As of April 2, there were more than 500,000 cases of the novel coronavirus infection recorded across Europe, with more than 30,000 deaths, according to tallies by the AFP news agency. Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases is rapidly approaching one million.

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