Brazil Seeks PAHO Help to Find COVID-19 Intubation Drugs

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has agreed to help Brazil acquire sedatives and other drugs it urgently needs for the intubation of patients seriously ill with COVID-19 due to a shortage in the current surge of serious cases.

PAHO Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said the regional branch of the World Health Organization is already looking for suppliers of the so-called “intubation kit” that Brazil can then purchase through PAHO’s strategic fund.

“Knowing the country’s difficulty, we are already looking for supply alternatives with international producers,” Barbosa told Reuters.

Brazil is facing record deaths from COVID-19 that have overwhelmed intensive care wards in major cities, some of which are running out of the sedatives and muscle relaxants needed to treat serious cases.

The Brazilian government has also instructed its ambassadors to look for drugs and equipment supplies in countries that produce them, two diplomats told Reuters.

The supplies sought include midazolam, propofol and fentanyl, used to sedate and relax intubated patients.

Last week, Brazilian governors wrote to President Jair Bolsonaro warning his government that their supplies of these medicines were running low and covered only 20 days of hospital needs, while new stocks were hard to find and prices had soared.

Last week was Brazil’s deadliest since the coronavirus pandemic began a year ago, with a record 2,841 deaths on March 16 and an accumulated toll of more than 294,000 dead by Sunday.

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