Emergency drugs in China scarce – shortfall severe, doctor says

Drugs needed to treat emergency room patients are often in short supply or unavailable in Chinese hospitals, according to a joint study by researchers in Australia and China released October 9.

The drug shortage is serious and is having significant effects on patients, especially in secondary hospitals located in eastern and western China, according to a survey by researchers from Xi’an Jiaotong University and the University of Western Australia. Of 236 physicians who participated in the survey, more than 90% said their hospitals lacked needed drugs. More than 65% of the physicians reported drug shortages at least once per month.

The deficit was most acute with regard to essential medicines, injections and medicines without alternative agents. Protamine, the anticoagulant used to counter the effects of heparin administered before and after surgery, was in short supply. Thus, affecting the ability of physicians throughout China to perform certain surgeries.

The survey was conducted between November 2016 and February 2017.