Belgium is experiencing a shortage of tocilizumab. This drug is used to fight against polyarthritis, among other things. He could be out until the end of the year.
Tocilizumab will be scarce by the end of the year. The drug is used to treat patients with a severe form of Covid19, in particular, but the company that produces it is unable to keep up with the demand.
“We think we will be able to use it for the last time this week in the covid“explains Nicolas Dauby, specialist in infectious diseases at CHU Saint-Pierre. Tocilizumab has been used in Belgian hospitals since the beginning of July. It is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This drug therefore improves the prognosis of severe Covid19 patients, it allows a patient to avoid intensive care. “Tocilizumab will calm the inflammatory cascade observed in severe COvid19 patients and will reduce the risk of progression to intensive care and thus preserve intensive care beds” explains Nicolas Dauby.
This medicine is basically used for other illnesses, such as arthritis. In view of the shortage, the Federal Medicines Agency has decided to prioritize these diseases over Covid patients. This decision is not without consequences for health care.
“It is very worrying in relation to the quality of care” regrets Nicolas Dauby, “we did not have many weapons to treat Covid patients in intensive care so inevitably the quality of care will decrease.”
The situation will be reassessed in the coming days, but there are concerns about delivery problems until the end of the year.