Cuba running short of nearly 40 pct. of basic medications

Havana, Jul 19 (EFE).- Cuba’s state-owned pharmaceutical industry is struggling to fulfill its mandate of ensuring adequate supplies of the most commonly prescribed medications on the island, a top executive said Tuesday.

In a typical month, the health care system experiences shortages of 38 percent of the drugs making up the basic inventory, BioCubaFarma’s vice president told a press conference in Havana.

Since the onset of the pandemic, “the largest part of financing was dedicated to dealing with Covid and to the development and production of vaccines,” Tania Urquiza Rodriguez said.

Logistical problems and the impact of the economic embargo the United States has maintained against Cuba for six decades are other factors contributing to shortages, she said.

“At this moment BioCubaFarma has more than 120 (consignments of) raw materials that are already paid for and the providers have them on hand. Of those, there are 54 that have not yet been able to reach the country,” Urquiza said.

BioCubaFarma guarantees the supply of essential medications and treatments such as kidney dialysis, blood plasma, critical care drugs and pharmaceuticals for noninfectious chronic diseases, she said.

The executive acknowledged, however, that Cuba has limited supplies of the 12 most widely used medications, including the asthma drug salbutamol and enalapril, prescribed for hypertension.

The industry is working “tirelessly” to ensure adequate stocks of roughly 62 percent of the basic inventory of 849 medicines, BioCubaFarma chief Eduardo Martinez told Communist Party daily Granma in May, while pointing to “limitations on the availability of raw materials.” EFE jce/dr

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