London.- Nine European university hospitals warn that they will run out of essential drugs to treat Covid-19 patients in intensive care in less than two weeks, as they become increasingly overwhelmed by the pandemic.
The European Alliance of University Hospitals said that if countries do not cooperate to ensure the supply of these drugs, medical and nursing staff could no longer provide adequate treatment for critically ill patients.
In a letter to national governments, the group said that apart from the need for protective equipment and respirators, “the most urgent need now is the necessary medicines for patients in intensive care.” Stocks of muscle relaxants, sedatives, and pain relievers would run out in two days in the worst-hit hospitals and two weeks in the rest.
The shortage has forced hospitals to get alternative drugs or change doses.
“It is extremely worrying that less experienced nursing staff or advanced medical students, recruited to fill the absences, should use products and doses that they are not used to,” said the group on behalf of hospitals in Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Spain.
He argued that given the shortage, some governments refuse to export drugs, which prevents some of the neediest hospitals from obtaining them.
“No country in Europe has the production facilities on its own to supply drugs (or protective equipment or respirators) in sufficient quantity,” they wrote. “Coordinated European action will be of vital importance.”