Brazil: Prevent Senior secretly medicated hundreds of elderly Covid-19 patients without their knowledge, resulting in the deaths of at least nine people, reveal reports
In April 2021, the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission of Covid-19 (CPI da Covid) was established in order to investigate alleged omissions and irregularities in the management of the pandemic in Brazil by the federal government of Jair Bolsonaro. Recently, the CPI received a dossier prepared by doctors and former doctors of the health operator Prevent Senior, containing complaints regarding the company's conduct in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the document, Prevent Senior, whose target audience is the elderly, would have conducted tests of the so-called "covid kit", a cocktail composed of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, in patients contaminated by Covid-19. In addition to the fact that such drugs have inefficacy against the disease attested by the World Health Organization (WHO), doctors claim that the elderly were medicated without prior authorization and without being aware that they were receiving these substances. The National Research Ethics Commission (Conep) did not authorise the experiments either. The reports point to the existence of a partnership between the company and the Jair Bolsonaro government, through a parallel office of denialist doctors that operated within the Ministry of Health. The president of the republic openly supports the covid kit and the so-called "early treatment".
The doctors also allege that they were pressured to prescribe the covid kit, suffering various forms of intimidation, harassment and threats. According to the information sent to the CPI, the Hapvida Group would also adopt a similar posture. Prevent Senior and Hapvida would have, together, bought more than five million boxes of chloroquine and ivermectin. The health professionals of Prevent also denounced that they were forced to work even when they tested positive for Covid-19, besides encountering difficulties in access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The dossier also shows that the results of tests performed on patients were adulterated to underreport the number of deaths. Prevent Senior, which accounted for 30% of deaths in Brazil due to Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, reported that only two people died after receiving the kit. However, at least nine individuals medicated with the cocktail did not survive. Fraud had also occurred in death certificates, changing the ICD of Covid-19 victims to other diseases, as was the case of the mother of Luciano Hang, a businessman who owns Havan shops and one of the main supporters of Jair Bolsonaro. The information also highlights that the protocols required for this type of research, such as conducting electrocardiograms on all participants, for example, were not followed.
Supposedly under the Nazi slogan "obedience and loyalty", Prevent Senior would also have created the figure of the "death personal", a palliative health professional whose function would be to prevent patients in conditions to recover health from being cared for in the ICU, due to the high cost of intensive treatment. The patient would then be taken out of intensive care and treated with strong sedatives and morphine pumps.
Bel Bechara, daughter of a 91-year-old beneficiary of Prevent Senior, gave an interview to the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reporting similarities between the care offered to her father and the allegations filed against the company, such as offering chloroquine to the patient and the insistence on the use of palliative medicine at the expense of intensive care.
In testimony to the CPI, the lawyer who represents the 12 doctors who filed complaints against Prevent Senior revealed that, between 2015 and 2017, the operator's employees were even forced to sing, with their hand on their chest, the " Anthem of the Guardians" of the company.
The BHRRC invited Prevent Senior and Hapvida Group to comment on the dossier, but only Hapvida Group responded.