The New York Times reported Thursday that essential drugs needed for helping people suffering from the coronavirus are now running low.
While New York is desperately begging for ventilators, saying they'll run out next week, hospitals are begging for masks and other personal protective equipment along with drugs used to keep patients' airways open. Hospitals also are running low on antibiotics, antivirals and sedatives like fentanyl, used to relax patients when the tube is put down their throat.
"They are all part of a standard cocktail of medications that help patients on mechanical ventilators, control secondary lung infections, reduce fevers, manage pain and resuscitate those who go into cardiac arrest," wrote The Times.
There was a heavy uptick in the usage of these drugs as the steady climb of coronavirus cases began about a month ago.
"Orders for antibiotics like azithromycin and antiviral medicines like ribavirin nearly tripled. Medicines used for sedation and pain management, including fentanyl, midazolam and propofol, increased by 100 percent, 70 percent and 60 percent respectively," the report said.
“Just like we’re seeing shortages of other materials, like masks and ventilators, medications are right there in the mix of things that we don’t always have enough of on hand,” said drug shortage expert Erin Fox. “So we were not prepared for this kind of surge.”