Anesthesia Drug Shortages, First It Was Propofol and now Pentothal–Choice #3 Is a Real Old Drug And Less Stable
Posted Feb 03 2011 12:41am
Ok now we are coming full circle and hopefully by this time since November when I posted about the hotline created for propofol that has maybe evened out a little, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. We do not make any propofol in the US any longer and in 2 years went from 2 companies in the US to zero. Now the choice of drug #2 for anesthesia is having some political issues.
The drug is manufactured in Germany and sold here in the US by APP Pharmaceuticals. As of today the website states the company is supplying 100 percent of the current market demand for propofol injections, but there seems to be a difference of opinions in the news. In Phoenix all hospitals are working together to ensure those surgeries that doctors feel are the highest on the list for using this propofol get their supplies. This is a very strange shortage as some hospitals seem to be ok most of the time and others have not been able to get any for over a year or so.
if you read on the web you can find a few sites where facilities are also talking about how they are sharing the supply. Perhaps the market demand as it is called is filled, but how about actual orders where hospitals are waiting and having to share? Pentothal is a bit of a political battle too as the ingredient needed to make it comes from Italy and they won’t supply it unless the US agrees not to use the drug to carry out death penalties.
Italy will sell it to Hospira who can make the drug in the US only if the firm agreed not to use it as a death penalty drug and Britain has outright banned exports of sodium thiopental to the U.S. for the same reason. Hospira said no more Pentothal. BD
Choice # 3 below:
Some hospitals and dentists are now using a drug called etomidate. It is an older drug that works but it is sometimes very painful going in. Anesthesiologists are not real happy with this drug because it is much harder to intubate or use this drug for conscious sedation or general anesthesia safely.Many younger anesthesiologists have not been trained on using the drug as well. So I guess until such time we either find another drug for death penalties or go back to the electric chair drug #2 is in short supply.
This is really bad as we no longer in the US make the very most common 2 drugs that are used for surgical procedures day in and day out, and that includes dentists and veterinarians, so the pets don’t' benefit either. BD
A death penalty drug shortage may potentially cause prisons to shut down the death penalty all together. Currently, Hospira, the main pharmaceutical company creating the drug Pentothal has halted all production of the drug because they do not have the sufficient ingredient, sodium thiopental, to make Pentothal.
In the hopes of starting production on sodium thiopental sooner, Hospira tried to get the ingredient from overseas. However, Italy will sell it to Hospira only if the firm agreed not to use it as a death penalty drug and Britain has outright banned exports of sodium thiopental to the U.S. for the same reason. Without this key ingredient, Hospira has now chosen not to make Pentothal at all.