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Italy | Emergency delivery to ICUs

Gabriele Ceratti | 59
Marketing manager for Hospital Care and OEM manager for the B. Braun Group, Milan

On the morning of March 21, 2020, a delivery vehicle out of Melsungen, Germany, arrived at the warehouse in Mirandola. It was a Saturday, and normally there were no deliveries on weekends. In these times, though, nothing was normal. The vehicle was carrying 10,000 doses of the sedative midazolam, which was urgently needed in Italy for the mechanical ventilation of thousands of COVID-19 patients who needed help breathing. Gabriele Ceratti worked with the italian team in Milano and Mirandola to make the delivery possible in just a few days.

Mr. Ceratti, what challenges did you face when procuring the sedative?

Due to the extremely critical situation, the hospitals suddenly needed three or four times the normal amount of this drug. We knew that we would have to get it from another country, but to do that we first needed a special permit - the vials of midazolam from Melsungen had labels in German and English, but only labels in Italian are allowed here.

Why did you and your team decide to take on this responsibility?

In those awful days of the first wave, we saw how the hospitals were in desperate need and we knew right away that we had to respond. Even though we got the ball rolling, it never would have worked without the Regulatory Affairs people at B. Braun in Italy and Germany. They, too, immediately took responsibility and acted. This kind of permit normally takes weeks, but we got it in just a few days. It was an extraordinary situation.

How did you get through that difficult time?

It’s the result of having a great team at B. Braun - both here and in Germany. We could feel the support of our German colleagues quite a lot. Everyone was so kind and sensitive, they understood it was time to respond immediately in order to help Italy and all the patients in this terrible situation.

What gives you hope?

The emergency procurement of midazolam was the first time, but certainly not the last time in this crisis, that we were able to help quickly. We were able to do something similar with the sedative propofol and pumps for hospital beds.