Source: DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supplies of sedative midazolam have been diverted from France as a “precaution” to alleviate potential shortages in the NHS caused by COVID-19, said the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC). The Pharmaceutical Journal.
A spokesperson for Accord Healthcare, one of five manufacturers of the drug, said The Pharmaceutical Journal that it had to obtain regulatory approval to sell injections of midazolam injected under the French label to the NHS, after having already sold stocks for two years to British wholesalers “at the request of the NHS” in March 2020.
The DHSC said the request for additional stock was part of “national efforts to respond to the coronavirus epidemic”, which included precautions “to reduce the likelihood of future shortages”.
Midazolam is listed by the Royal College of Anesthetists as a “first line” sedative in the care of COVID-19 patients, and warns in guidelines issued April 2, 2020 that it “may be under pressure from Requirement”.
On April 17, 2020, Matt Hancock, British Secretary of Health, told the House of Commons Special Committee on Health and Social Care that the drugs in intensive therapy units – including midazolam – are part of a “Delicate supply chain” because “they are produced in a relatively small area”. number of factories in the world. “
Although the DHSC confirmed that midazolam is still available for primary and secondary care, he added that some providers of sedatives had limited or no availability.
A spokesperson for Accord Healthcare said The Pharmaceutical Journal on May 11, 2020, it was out of stock of midazolam injected after the NHS asked it to “place all its stock of midazolam – equivalent to approximately two years of supply planned – with its wholesale partners”, even if the manufacturer “Currently does not have any NHS contracts in England” to supply the drug.
“Following the request of the NHS [in March 2020]we are out of stock afterwards, “said Peter Kelly, managing director of Accord Healthcare.
However, he added that the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had given the manufacturer’s approval “for certain stocks of French labels – 22,000 other packages – for sale in the NHS and [we] are currently awaiting the direction of the MHRA on where to place the stock. “
The manufacturer declared that the French stock includes only midazolam to the force of 1 mg / ml in 5 ml, while the initial supply in March 2020 contained a variety of four different dosages.
A DHSC spokesperson said it “works closely with industry, the NHS and other members of the supply chain to help patients access the medicines they need and take precautions were in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages. ”
The DHSC confirmed that its request for additional stock of midazolam with Accord Healthcare was among these precautions.
“As part of our national efforts to respond to the coronavirus epidemic, we are doing everything we can to ensure that patients continue to have access to safe and effective medicines,” they added.