The shortage of critical drugs affecting the country’s major hospitals is much worse than initially thought. The country’s major hospital, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, have written a letter noting that unless they get supplies of atracurium they may have to suspend surgeries. Atracurium is a major anesthetic medicine that is used in surgery.
In the letter, Davison N. Vuragu, the Chief Pharmacist ar Parirenyatwa says,
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We therefore cannot afford to reduce our surgical operations which will have to be done if we do not receive more stock of atracurium injection soon. As the situation stands, not only Parirenyatwa Hospital is affected but all the major public and private hosiptals
Here is the letter:
13 January 2017
The Country Manager
Aspen Pharmacare Zimbabwe
C/0 Pulse Medical Care Pat Ltd
15 Bogward Road
Dear: Ms Hove
RE: COUNTRYWIDE CRISIS OF ATRACURIUM INJECTION SHORTAGE
The country’s hospitals have been hit by a shortage of atracurium injection following the pulling out of GSK from the Zimbabwean Market. The GSK atracuriurn is the only one that is registered in the country and since Zimbabwean wholesalers could not import into the country, the stocks that were available have been exhausted.
Parirenyatwa Hospital among other institutions like the Avenues Clinic and Harare Hospital had sought alternative sources through local wholesalers and were able to import through Section 75. This alternative route has however, hit a snag due to delayed foreign payments by local suppliers’ bankers to the foreign manufacturers.
As Parirenyatwa Hospital, we are left with less than two (2) weeks of stock. This means that we have a disaster on hand as atracurium is one of the major anaesthetic medicines that are used in surgery. Alternative molecules like cis-atracurium, vercuronium, and rocuronium are also not available in the country and they are not registered.
GSK had agreed that they could continue to supply the country through Natpharm. In a recent tender that Natpharrn floated however, GSK quoted for other GSK products except for atracuriurn injection. I am made to understand that this was because they had no stock at the fime. The GSK representative in Zimbabwe has advised that Aspen has taken over atracurium and cis-atracurium from GSK and will be supplying the product. We therefore request that we be able to process an urgent importation from Aspen as Parirenyatwa so as to avert disaster while we also engage Natpharm and the Ministry of Health and Child Care for an urgent plan for the rest of the country.
Parirenyahva Hospital is the biggest referral centre in the country providing the greatest number of specialist surgical services. We therefore cannot afford to reduce our surgical operations which will have to be done if we do not receive more stock of atracurium injection soon. As the situation stands, not only Parirenyatwa Hospital is affected but all the major public and private hospitals.
We anticipate your urgent assistance.
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals