On Sundays, TecMundo gathers the main health news of the week in one place.
This week, we summarize here one of the most scandalous cases of the pandemic: the allegations that Prevent Senior put its covid-19 patients at risk through the use of inappropriate drugs and procedures.
The Prevent Senior case
Health operator Prevent Senior is accused by doctors and former patients of testing drugs without proper authorization, pushing for the use of so-called early treatment – with drugs from the “covid kit”, such as hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (ineffective against the disease ) -, and the use of inappropriate palliative treatment in patients who could remain in the ICU and have more chances of overcoming the disease.
Prevent Senior Unit in São Paulo (credits: Felipecbit/Shutterstock)
The company is also accused of defrauding death certificates to remove covid-19 as the cause of death.
On Thursday (7), former patient Tadeu Frederico Andrade, who was seen on the network, and doctor Walter Correa de Souza Neto, who worked at the company, reinforced the accusations in the CPI of Pandemia (or CPI of Covid-19), which investigates actions of the federal government during the pandemic. Other ex-patients, relatives of ex-patients and doctors have been increasing the complaints against the operator.
For cardiologist Luis Claudio Correia, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health (Bahiana), the accusations are serious and require an investigation to confirm the facts. “It is no longer just a scientific question”, he says.
Correia claims that producing an inaccurate death certificate is an attack on public health for hiding the real cause of death. The doctor explains that even if the patient dies two months after the acute phase of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, the underlying cause of death can still be covid-19.
“We know that many patients who die from covid do not die within the first 14 days; they stay in the ICU for a long time and may have a bacterial infection even after they have recovered from the viral infection. This does not mean that the cause of death was not covid, because if he had not caught the disease, he would not have died”, says the doctor.
Through press releases, Prevent Senior denies the accusations and avoids commenting on the cases revealed by patients and doctors.
The ‘covid kit’ fantasy
Scientific consensus points out that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in fighting covid-19 or preventing the disease. Several studies carried out in recent months reinforce the position.
It is good to remember here that, in science, one result is not enough; the experiment needs to be repeated so that the chance of errors is less, and that’s how, after several studies, the scientists concluded that hydroxychloroquine does not work against the coronavirus.
Covid-19 patient receives treatment in an isolated area (credits: shutter_o/Shutterstock)
Other medications, such as azithromycin (an antibiotic), can be used in the hospital setting when there is a bacterial infection in the patient.
For Correia, doctors who prescribe such drugs, even after several studies show the ineffectiveness of the remedies, are doing medicine based on belief.
“The use of these fancy medications is nothing new. Doctors often prescribe drugs without scientific evidence, now it has only become more apparent with hydroxychloroquine. The consequences go beyond health. Poorly prescribed drugs have a systemic effect throughout society” (Luis Claudio Correia, director of the Evidence-Based Medicine Center of the Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health)
Correia says he sees an omission on the part of the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM), which has not yet positioned itself clearly on the so-called ‘covid kit’. “The omission of the CFM went beyond the limit”, says the doctor.
“There is no silver bullet in medicine, maybe only the vaccine comes close to that. What we do is a set of actions that can save people”, concludes the specialist.