Quinidine– the only drug known to be effective in preventing lethal ventricular arrhythmias in people with several rare conditions, including Brugada syndrome, idiopathic ventricular fibrillation, and early repolarization syndrome– is no longer available in much of the world.
In a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Sami Viskin and colleagues surveyed physicians around the world about the availability of quinidine in their country and received responses from 273 physicians in 131 countries. In 76% of the countries quinidine was not available at all. In another 10% quinidine was available only through a regulatory process that can take several days to several months to obtain the drug. Quinidine was easily obtained in only 14% of countries.