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Theft of deadly medicine prompts 'catastrophe' concerns

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12:06 CET+01:00
The theft of an extremely strong sedative from a Lund hospital has caused alarm. On the street the drugs could have catastrophic consequences, according to the doctor who discovered the theft, local newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet reports.

Skåne University Hospital in Lund on Monday reported the theft of several bottles of the drug remifentanil - a powerful ultra short-acting anaesthetic with one ampoule enough to kill 50 men, according to the police.

"We could not imagine that anyone outside of the hospital could be interested in the substance which was stolen," Doctor Bengt Roth at the intensive care clinic told the newspaper.

Roth, who discovered the missing bottles and informed the police, warned that the drug is very dangerous and said that it would be a "catastrophe" if the bottles found their way to the street, as even the smallest inhalation can cause a cessation of lung function.

The drug is used during surgery and normally only when the patient is connected to a respirator in the event of breathing problems.

The bottles of Ultiva branded remifentanil were stolen from a locked room requiring three pass card checks to enter.

Bengt Roth is at a loss to explain how somebody could have gained access and stated that the hospital logs shed no light on where the drugs have gone.

Malmö police confirmed to the newspaper that they were not aware of the drug being commonly in use among drug addicts.

"We urge those that have taken this not to use it, either themselves or on somebody else. One ampoule is enough to to stop the breathing of 50 men weighing 100 kilogrammes a piece - it is that strong," said Mikael Persson at Skåne police.

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