The British Government has banned companies from buying up drugs used on intensive care wards and selling them to hospitals in other countries.
The Department of Health has announced that the exporting of certain drugs including painkillers, antibiotics and anaesthetics will no longer be allowed.
This ban on international sale of the drugs is intended to shore up Britain’s supplies of drugs which are crucial for treating intensive care patients.
Increasing numbers of people will need to be admitted to critical care units in the coming weeks and the Government must move to make sure they can be looked after.
Although bed capacity is an issue, banning the drugs is one way hospitals can make sure their supplies don’t run dry.
81 drugs were banned from export today, among them the high-grade painkillers morphine, fentanyl and ketamine, the surgical anaesthetic propofol.
Noradrenalin, a type of adrenaline, and the antibiotic clarithromycin, which is a first-choice treatment for pneumonia, were also on the list.
The Department of Health said all the drugs on the list are in high demand across Europe as health authorities gas station male enhancement pills work to battle coronavirus.
High-grade painkillers like morphine and ketamine have been included on the list of drugs banned from export, as well as an antibiotic called clarithromycin, which is used to treat pneumonia (stock image)
The Department of Health’s move is a ban on what’s called the parallel export of drugs, meaning companies are not allowed to buy UK stocks to sell them abroad.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said today: ‘We are banning the parallel export of more than 80 crucial medicines to protect patients in the UK and help ensure they can always get the treatments they need.’
Also on the parallel export ban list are medications being used as experimental therapies for people with severe coronavirus infections.
Antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, as well as HIV medications called lopinavir + ritonavir, are also on the list.
All three have been used on COVID-19 patients by doctors in China, who reported that they have shown good results.
Their status on the protected list raises the prospect of them being used in the UK after Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday revealed British patients have begun to be enrolled in clinical trials.
In another development today, the UK’s healthcare regulator, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said it was rapidly working on guidelines to advise doctors and nurses how best to treat coronavirus patients.
It will start with advice on how to treat people in intensive care, those who are having kidney dialysis and those taking chemotherapy.
More detailed guidance will be released in future about treating other types of people, NICE said.
The regulator said it would make its guidance available online so other countries can see the approach the UK is taking to tackle the virus and care for patients in the NHS.
The UK’s coronavirus crisis deepened today when Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the closure of pubs, cafes and restaurants.
There are now more than 3,300 confirmed patients and at least 177 people have died.
The UK’s coronavirus crisis is escalating fast and the Government is bringing in tougher rules to support the NHS and protect the public.
Pictured, a woman disinfects hand rails on a train in London