Washington — With federal and state officials rushing to secure ventilators for patients battling COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, doctors and pharmacists are warning that the supply of drugs needed to place patients on those ventilators is also dwindling. “The correlation is 1 to 1,” said Dan Kistner, group senior vice president of pharmacy solutions for Vizient, a company that serves more than half the nation’s hospitals and negotiates lower drug prices. “There is a demand for ventilators that we’ve never seen before, and thus you’re going to have the same pressure on the drugs that support ventilators.”The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in the number of patients on ventilators as they battle the respiratory illness, which has claimed the lives of more than 14,500 people in the U.S, according to Johns Hopkins University. In addition to the ventilator machines themselves, patients need specific drugs when they’re intubated and once they’re on the device. For patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who develop what’s called acute respiratory distress syndrome due to fluid in the lungs, anesthesiologists are brought in to administer intravenous anesthetic agents or sedatives, Dr. Ed Mariano, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told


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