Brazil Hospital Chain Allegedly Tested Unproven Drugs on Elderly COVID Patients: Whistleblowers
A lawyer for whistleblowers composed of doctors revealed that a Brazilian hospital chain had allegedly tested unproven drugs on elderly COVID patients without their knowledge.
The testing without consent was part of an effort to validate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's claim of "miracle cure," according to a Reuters report.
Lawyer Bruna Morato told a Senate inquiry that at least nine people died of COVID during the said trials at the Prevent Senior hospital chain from March to April 2020.
However, their charts were changed to hide the cause of their deaths.
Meanwhile, the hospital had rejected the claims against them, saying that it had regularly reported all deaths, adding that seven percent of the 56,000 COVID patients it treated had died, which was said a better record than other public and private hospitals.
Owner and executive director of the hospital chain, Pedro Batista, acknowledged that the patients' charts were altered to remove any reference to COVID after they had been hospitalized for two weeks.
However, he denied allegations of testing unproven drugs on patients without their knowledge, according to a TRT World report.
Batista said that doctors had prescribed the medicines when patients asked for them. He said that everyone recalls comments from Bolsonaro and other influential people resulting in patients demanding the prescriptions.
Morato, who represents the 12 doctors employed at Prevent Senior, said that the company had threatened and dismissed doctors who disagreed with a predetermined COVID kit, which included hydroxychloroquine, erythromycin and ivermectin.
Morato added that very vulnerable elderly patients were told there was a good treatment. However, they did not know that they were being used as guinea pigs.
Bolsonaro Touting Unproven Drugs
Bolsonaro has regularly promoted unproven and cheap drugs to his about 40 million social media followers, with his administration has spent millions of dollars to produce, procure, and promote pills such as the lice mediation ivermectin, according to an NPR report.
The Ministry of Health and other doctors had endorsed the use of a combination of these medications to treat COVID infections despite not having solid evidence that it works.
In Brazil, medical professionals were prescribing unstandardized drug cocktails to their patients, with mayors creating their COVID response around the unproven drugs.
Bolsonaro's government had spent at least $6 million worth of public funds to procure the bills, which is supported by the country's Ministry of Health and Federal Medical Council.
The Brazilian president had also openly declared earlier that he will not be taking the vaccine, further claiming that he was immune after being infected with COVID.
In addition, his administration had earlier ignored offers from Pfizer despite the vaccine-maker offering doses for half price of those sold to the U.S. and Europe.
However, vaccination has turned an about-face with a sudden increase in its vaccination rates.
Around 67 percent of Brazilians had received at least one dose of their vaccines, which was slightly higher as compared to the United States with 63.4 percent and Argentina with 63.8 percent, according to a France 24 report.
Meanwhile, 36 percent of the population was already fully vaccinated.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: Bolsonaro touts hydroxychloroquine as Brazil virus crisis deepens - from Al Jazeera English
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