Drug supply in hospitals, ICU's under control: MUHC pharmacy official


There are concerns that some key drugs could be running out in hospital wards and pharmacies but at least one hospital pharmacy official says things are under control.

André Bonnici, chief of pharmacy at the MUHC said using alternative drugs if necessary is common practice and that right now, they are in a good position. 

Bonnici said that for example, they were recently out of the sedative Dexmedetomidine, commonly used in the ICU; and that another sedative, Propofol could be more restricted because it's used more often.

But Bonnici said they have daily and weekly meetings to plan ahead and see what needs to be ordered and using equivalent drugs if need be. Bonnici added that sometimes it takes time for communication and deliveries to reach colleagues on the ground.

"Pharmacists are pretty used to doing these choices on a daily basis now - we just have to rely more on what's available and their good use of their clinical judgement to make sure the agents are equivalent when they're choosing," said Bonnici in an interview with CJAD 800.

Bonnici said they are good for about four weeks of essential drugs such as Propofol though that could always change once schools and businesses start reopening.  Bonnici said it's a delicate balance - especially if a spike in COVID-19 cases start eating away at their supply.

"We're not at a point where every single agent we're using is running out.  We're more at a point where we're using more than usual, we're in competition with the rest of America and probably the world for the same short list of about 30-40 drugs," said Bonnici.

"I can reassure them that right now - that in any ICU especially - there's really a wide range of drugs we can use."


Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters