The Swedish Medicines Agency has approved the use of anaesthetics usually used for animals for severe Wuhan coronavirus patients, as supplies of traditional drugs run low.
According to the agency, the demand for the anaesthetic drug Propofol has surged in the Swedish capital of Stockholm and is being rationed.
If supplies run out, doctors will be allowed to use drugs normally prescribed for use in animals. The director of health in the Stockholm region Björn Eriksson told broadcaster Sveriges Radio there is a lack of drug supply in the area.
“We generally know that we have a shortage of that drug, which is why we are rationing and making sure that it is only used when we have to and in other cases, we use alternative medicines,” Eriksson said.
European Medicines Agency Warns of Looming Drug Shortages https://t.co/02oF3ANbYE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 8, 2020
Maja Marklund, director at the Swedish Medicines Agency, admitted that using animal anaesthetics was not standard procedure. She said: “It is an extreme situation in that the intensive care units have a much-increased need everywhere at the same time. It becomes so that we have to be extra vigilant and take some extra measures that are not usual.”
The approval of veterinary drugs comes just days after the European Medicine Agency (EMA) warned that Europe was facing a shortage of medicines due to the outbreak of the Chinese virus.
The EMA said that along with sedatives and anaesthetics, European countries could see shortages of malaria drugs like chloroquine. Some doctors have claimed chloroquine is effective in combatting severe coronavirus cases.
Sweden, which has been one of the few countries not to impose strict lockdown measures, has seen a massive surge of coronavirus cases and deaths in recent days, reporting 10,483 cases and 899 deaths as of Sunday.
Coronavirus has also spread to nursing homes in 18 of Sweden’s 21 counties as of Friday, with the elderly most at risk for developing fatal cases of the disease.
Sweden: State Epidemiologist Refuses Responsibility for Retirement Home Deaths https://t.co/VQRlYqt10j
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 5, 2020