Ministry of Health approves 1st drug to treat Covid by SUS

The Ministry of Health approved, this Friday (1st), the incorporation of the first drug to treat Covid-19 in the SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde). The decision is signed by the Secretariat of Science and Technology and Strategic Inputs and was published in the DOU (Official Federal Gazette). The drug baricitinib will be available for the treatment of hospitalized adult patients who require oxygen by mask or nasal catheter.

Conitec (National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies) recommended, last Wednesday (30), the incorporation of baricitinib, capable of reducing the mortality of patients hospitalized for Covid by 38%. Once the Ministry of Health accepted the commission’s decision, the drug should be distributed free of charge in the public health network, for the indicated cases.

Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) also endorsed the use of the drug for severe cases of the disease. The drug is already registered in Brazil to treat moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis and moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Therefore, many states have stock of the medicine and can supply it in the public network.

In a conversation with journalists, this Friday (1st), the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, said that the drug could be part of the therapeutic guideline to treat patients with Covid, a document that should guide health professionals on the procedures to be adopted in hospitals and clinics in the country. The minister also added that the decision will be within the scope of the appeal that asks the portfolio to go back on the decision to bar the guidelines approved by Conitec.

“We are going to make a therapeutic guideline guiding this. It is even part of the scope of the resource I am analyzing, precisely so that we have an updated therapeutic guideline. The evidence is updated every day, because new research, new studies, and the therapeutic guideline have to be, as I said in the Human Rights Commission, a living guideline, a line that the World Health Organization adopts today”, said Queiroga.

The aforementioned resource refers to hospital and outpatient guidelines to treat patients with Covid-19 and who contraindicated the so-called “Covid kit”, composed of ineffective drugs against Covid-19. Conitec accepted the study group’s reports, but the then secretary of Science, Innovation and Strategic Inputs, Hélio Angotti, rejected the commission’s opinion. The decision is in the hands of the minister, who reiterates that he will provide answers on the subject within the deadline set by the legislation.

“There is a deadline that the law gives, within that period I will position myself. This medication [baricitinibe] it is important for us to have a therapeutic guideline, which, here at the end, brings benefits to patients”, indicated the minister.

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