Associations of doctors, patients and technicians who work in the evaluation of health technologies try to avoid the rigging of Conitec (National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies in SUS) by the government wing that defends the use of ineffective drugs for Covid-19, such as to hydroxychloroquine.
The mobilization is to avoid the dismissal of Vania Canuto from the command of the collegiate that prepares opinions on the incorporation of new treatments to the SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde). as showed the leaf, the government’s pro-Covid kit wing wants to sign biologist Regis Bruni Andriolo, who is an advocate of so-called early treatment, in office.
Canuto’s resignation request and the appointment of a replacement were made by Hélio Angotti, secretary of Science and Technology at the Ministry of Health, after the servant voted for Conitec in favor of an opinion that contraindicates the use of ineffective medicines for Covid.
The dismissal is considered likely, but the appointment of Andriolo has lost strength, say government officials. The lack of definition on the replacement in office drags the departure of Canuto, who was sent by Angotti at the end of 2021.
In addition, the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, wants to avoid the wear and tear of signing the employee’s resignation and tries to convince her to ask for her resignation, which should not happen, according to authorities who follow the discussions.
Canuto is the current director of DGITIS (Department of Management and Incorporation of Technologies and Innovations in Health), a position that commands Conitec.
The move comes at a time when the ministry blocks the publication of opinions that contraindicate the use of ineffective medicines for Covid.
These texts were approved in June and December 2021 by Conitec, but the publication of the guidelines is being postponed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, led by Angotti, to avoid a stain on the denialist banners of the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government.
The Ministry of Health was approached to comment on the matter, but did not comment until the conclusion of this text.
After the news about the eventual change in Conitec, entities took a stand against what they call the politicization of Conitec.
Frente Pela Vida, a group represented by Abrasco (Brazilian Association of Collective Health) and eight other entities, released a note in defense of Conitec. According to the document, the commission has been morally harassed by political authorities, including officials from the Ministry of Health itself.
“In recent days, the entire scientific community has grown apprehensive, especially in the health area, with the possibility of assuming the coordination of Conitec people without the proper professional qualification. If this occurs, there is a risk that Conitec start to incorporate products and procedures without technical-scientific criteria, but based on political beliefs and ideologies”, said the note.
Another 19 members of Nats (Technology Assessment Center), among them members of the National Institute of Cardiology and the USP School of Medicine, defended the actions of the current coordinator of Conitec and classified the change in the organ as a threat.
The technicians of these centers work on the analysis of new health technologies and on Conitec’s discussions.
The group highlighted that it works with DGITIS to meet the demands and activities of Conitec, which carries out work guided by technical criteria.
“We hope that the interests of the SUS are preserved from this imminent threat, that technical competences are protected and that they override any political interest,” the note said.
The associations Ame (Multiple Friends for Sclerosis) and CDD (Chronicles of the Day) created a petition called “In Defense of the Assessment of Health Technologies” to avoid politicization in the incorporation of medicines in the SUS.
The guideline on hospital treatment was approved in June at Conitec. The opinion on outpatient management, that is, for mild cases, was accepted in December, after an impasse and the government’s attempt to implode the debate.
In December, the vote that rejected the Covid kit had a tight score, from 7 to 6. The score could be reversed with the withdrawal of Canuto and appointment of a name aligned with the government.
Another way would be to reject Conitec’s opinion. The first such decision can be made by Angotti. In this case, if there is an appeal, the final decision rests with Minister Queiroga.
Biologist Andriolo is close to the secretary of the Ministry of Health Mayra Pinheiro, known as “Captain Chloroquine”, and to Angotti. In May 2021, he helped Pinheiro prepare for the Covid CPI.
In a video to which leaf had access, she asks Andriolo to prepare some questions so she can send them to the senators to ask her.
Pinheiro asked the researcher if there was a study that would serve as a “silver bullet” to prove to the CPI the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
In response, in the video, Andriolo replied: “That’s right. Where’s the early study, right? That’s the problem. There isn’t. So, there’s no such study.”
Andriolo, Pinheiro and Angotti participated in the conversation that preceded the secretary’s visit to the CPI. On the same occasion, she suggested that she could arrange a position for the biologist in Health, even though he had not signaled whether or not he was interested in working in the folder.
The maneuvers may have limited effect, say government officials, as Minister Ricardo Lewandowski, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), gave until the end of January for the Ministry of Health to present a guideline and protocol for the treatment of Covid, in an action presented by the Ministry of Health. MDB.
In addition to postponing the publication of the guidelines, Angotti called the CEP (Public Ethics Commission), a body linked to the Presidency of the Republic, to investigate the opinion approved by the collegiate.
Upon taking over the Ministry of Health, in March 2020, Queiroga announced that he would promote the debate at Conitec to end the discussion on the use of the Covid kit. He appointed the doctor and professor at USP Carlos Carvalho, who was against ineffective drugs, to organize a group that would prepare the opinions.
Queiroga, however, modulated the speech and has invested in the Bolsonarista agenda to hold on to the position. He began to avoid the topic of the Covid kit, although he admits to colleagues that he does not see benefits in the use of these drugs.
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