| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Haroun says Lebanon facing shortage of anesthesia medicines

The Head of the Syndicate of Private Hospitals, Sleiman Haroun, warned on Monday that doctors might stop performing surgeries, even emergency ones, due to the shortage of anesthesia medicines, and called on the concerned officials to resolve this “catastrophe” quickly to “save patients from this imminent danger to their lives.”

During talks with Al Markaziyah news agency, Haroun revealed “a dangerous situation that hospitals have been reeling from for a week now, and which is expected to drag on for several days. This situation lies in the shortage of anesthesia medicines, namely Propofol, Esmeron and their agent Droguerie de l’Union.”

“Without these two types of medicine, it is impossible to perform surgeries. That’s why hospitals find themselves compelled to suspend surgeries,” he said. “As for the very limited stock they have, they leave it for emergency surgeries.”

“In case this problem drags on for a long time, we won’t be able to perform any kind of surgeries, even the urgent and emergency ones,” Haroun warned, adding “this situation is very dangerous and requires the swift intervention of any official to solve it immediately.”

Earlier in the day, Haroun said: “We have been witnessing for some time an ongoing sterile debate between the Banque du Liban and the importers of medicines and medical supplies .The bank announces that it is to subsidy or already did  during the first 5 months of 2021, which exceeds the value of the total amount that was disbursed for import in the entire year 2020. On the other hand, the importers deny receiving such a support t. As a result of this dialogue, many medicines were lost from the market, and medical supplies were many times more expensive than the official specified price.

He added in a statement: “This reality is clear evidence of the failure and futility of this support policy. It has caused a great waste of money at a time when, undoubtedly, there are those who benefit from it without any right.”

He called for “stopping this support in its wrong mechanism, and replacing it with another, more effective and fair procedure that requires giving the sums allocated to it to the guarantors of the Ministry of Health, the National Social Security Fund, the Cooperative of State Employees, the Military Medical and the Internal Security Forces, which will allow it to bear the cost of the increase prices of medicines and medical supplies resulting from any measure to lift subsidies.

He continued: “This will guarantee without a doubt:
1- The correct delivery of medicine and medical supplies to the patient and block the way to smuggling or even storage.
2- Reviving the element of competition among importers, which will be reflected positively in terms of price control.

3- Not to use direct support to realize illegal profits by any party
4- Putting an end to discretion in the process of selecting what should be supported and what should not

He added: “This support for the guarantors must be accompanied immediately by hospitals’ tariff correction as well as paying of their dues in a manner that secures the continuity of their work.