Failure in program leaves patients without remedies rare or chronic diseases


Row on the search for medicines at HGF on Monday, 17
Row in the search for medicines in the HGF on Monday, 17 (Photo: CLÁUDIO RIBEIRO / O POVO)

The cheapest, Lamotrigine 0.25 milligrams (mg), costs $ 15 in the market. It is used by patients with epilepsy. The most expensive, the Tysabri (Natalizumabe), reaches R $ 6,690 in the average price. It is to treat cases of multiple sclerosis, a disease that compromises the central nervous system and has degenerative action.

A list of 16 medicines that should be passed on free of charge by the General Hospital of Fortaleza (HGF) to patients with special diseases – rare, chronic or incurable – are missing or have frequent problems of stock, within the distribution program executed in the unit. These are medicines that can not be interrupted by the patient, at risk of compromising the treatment or even leading to death.

POVO Online was at HGF on Monday, the 17th, in the morning, and attested the lack of the 16 medications on that date. For different indications: treatment of tumors, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, shortness of breath, for hepatitis control, anxiety disorder or even for control the level of copper in the body or osteoporosis (bone weakening). Registered patients participate in the program, the majority evaluated in consultation in the HGF itself.

The absence in the inventory was confirmed from a list obtained by a relative of a patient attended by the program and passed on to O POVO Online. Without identifying himself, the reporter got in line and asked about the availability of the remedies. The information was confirmed by a hospital pharmacy clerk.

The problem was later reaffirmed in a note by the State Department of Health (Sesa). Some of the items have already been missing repeatedly since March, according to reports from more family members heard in the report. Also by telephone, in contacts made to the HGF Pharmacy on Tuesday morning, 18, some of the medications, randomly selected, remained unplanned.

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Missing Medications

At the service desk, under the employee's keyboard, the list of out-of-stock drugs is work material to guide patients or relatives. It is updated daily, according to one of the attendants. Everolimo 0.5 mg, which has immunosuppressive agents to strengthen the body's defense of transplanted patients, costs R $ 1,223. Depending on the dosage indicated by the doctor, it can reach almost R $ 15 thousand in some formulas.

POVO Online has consulted on average prices on resale sites – which even participate in public tenders. Another of the most expensive is the Somatuline (lanreotide acetate) of 90 or 100mg, which costs R $ 3,740. It is applied in patients with acromegaly, a disease that causes excessive production of growth hormone.

The relatives of patients who chatted with O POVO Online chose not to be photographed. But they did not summarize their stories of upheavals with the situation. In the profile, patients usually have retirement gains as the only income. When they are forced to pay for medications, the bills do not beat.

Stories of those who suffer without medication

Marta Oliveira, 67, and her husband, Francisco Valmir, 63, together earned just over $ 2,300 in retirement, she said. He has been living with the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease for seven years and it is she who cares. "We pay rent and can not afford to buy expensive medicine," he says. "He needs to take three boxes of medication a month. The medicine is Sifrol, 1 mg (active ingredient Pramipexole). Each box costs $ 149 in the market.

On Tuesday afternoon, the product was still missing from the HGF stock. Dona Marta was in the hospital and heard from the pharmacy again that the remedy has not yet arrived. "They have not given us any predictions, they have been missing for three months, I call every week," he laments. "He can not be without the remedy because he does not get up, he can not do anything, his legs do not stabilize."

The couple's daughter, Fernanda, says her father even took Sifrol at the lowest dosage of 0.25 mg to try to make up for it. "But it's not the right thing to do. It's a lot more pills a day for him."


The State Health Department (Sesa) admits the problem of failures in the stock of the pharmacy of the General Hospital of Fortaleza. In a note, sent Tuesday night, the briefing told O POVO Online that "it is taking steps to improve the model of procurement of medicines and reduce problems in processes that may result in discontinuation of supply, such as the lack of standardization of drugs (inclusion in the SUS drug list) and the suppliers' non-compliance with the deadline. "

It has not been confirmed since when the stock issue began. Relatives of the patients report that the situation would have started in March.

Regarding the replacement of medicines, Sesa states in the note that already "stock regularization"Of the following medicines:

1. Formoterol + Budesonide (active ingredient of Alenia)

2. Leuprorelin

3. Ribavirin

4. Lanreotide

5. Lamotrigine

6. Pancreatin

Two of the medications, the Secretariat's report continues, are already "in acquisition process":

7. Penicillamine

8. Raloxifene

The Secretariat adds that a drug is "awaiting delivery by the supplier":

9. Pyridostigmine

Two of the items, according to the Secretariat's note, "suffered shortages because they were tendered, but there was a failure to purchase":

10. Fludrocortisone

11. Clobazam

The type of fault found was not clarified, but points out that "it is looking for alternatives to acquire these medicines".

"Of the 16 drugs cited (missing from stock last Monday), five are from centralized acquisition by the Ministry of Health":

12. Entecavir

13. Everolimo

14. Natalizumab

15. Pramipexole

16. Tenofovir

The Secretariat adds that it is still awaiting the transfer and that it has already requested priority in the delivery. It was not clarified when the stock replacement will be normalized. POVO Online did not obtain information on amounts involved in the purchase of medicines or how many registered patients are currently benefited by the gratuity program.


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