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22.04.2008

Medicines Running Out in City

Several major local hospitals have reported shortages of anesthetics this month after suppliers failed to make deliveries on time. Stocks of adrenaline and atropine in some clinics will run out within less than a month, City Hall’s Health Committee said on Monday.

Governor Valentina Matviyenko has sought the support of Russia’s Health and Social Development Ministry, asking the officials to directly intervene and resolve the problem before the situation becomes critical.

State-funded local clinics are currently using the previously accumulated stocks of the medicines that are quickly running out. The Health Committee said any new deliveries of the drugs to hospitals have been suspended after Russia’s atropine producers stopped making the drug in January.

Production was suspended because the factories ran out of substances, and to get new stocks, the producers will have to go through a painstaking process of registering them.

The factories may not be able to resume production until the end of the year.

Western companies that make the medicine have not yet been able to complete the lengthy process of registering the substances in Russia.

A shortage of anesthetics was this month reported in other Russian cities, including Moscow and Krasnoyarsk, where some clinics have begun to postpone non-urgent operations.

Boris Taits, chief doctor at the Yelizavetinskaya hospital told reporters on Friday that the quantities of atropine in his clinic will last only for a week.

A month’s supply of the anesthetic is available to the St. Petersburg Ambulance Service, the organization’s information office said.

Ruslan Khalfin, deputy health and social development minister, told a news conference in Moscow that the crisis is being effectively dealt with, and will be resolved in the near future.

“There is no risk of any operations being delayed or a patient dying when a doctor is performing surgery on them,” Khalfin said, warning against exaggerating the scale of the problem. “We have enough anesthetics in stock to cover immediate needs.”

Hospitals were advised to use alternative drugs with similar characteristics and were offered assistance in ordering them, the official added. Doctors are worried, however, that alternative combinations of medicines would give the patients side-effects and increase mortality risks.


Source:  www.times.spb.ru

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