Cuba Only Produces 59 Percent of the Medications Necessary for Public Health

At the beginning of the year, 136 medicines from the basic catalog were lacking and an improvement was expected in the middle of the year. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana, 15 May 2022 — The Cuban biopharmaceutical industry has only produced 59% of the basic catalog of medicines destined for the public health system, so far this year, official media reported this Saturday.

The president of the state business group BioCubaFarma, Eduardo Martínez, explained that of the “basic list of medicines” of 627 products, “369 are currently produced,” according to the official newspaper Granma. As of April, “143 medicines are missing in one or more provinces.”

According to Martínez, “among the main causes of drug shortages are the unavailability of raw materials and necessary materials (94%) and plant shutdowns due to breakage or maintenance (6%).”

Martínez reiterated that behind the non-availability of supplies are often the economic sanctions of the United States against Cuba.

In January, 136 medicines were lacking out of the 359 that BioCuba Farma provides to the basic table each month, and it was expected that by the middle of this year the outlook would improve. In 2021 only 121 drugs were produced, on average.

During the past year, there was a serious shortage of basic medicines, which affected treatments for diseases such as arthritis, as well as antihistamines, anxiolytics and antidepressants.

The shortage of basic products, such as food and medicine, was one of the main economic elements in the anti-government protests of July 11, the largest in decades.

On the other hand, the Cuban authorities also announced this Saturday that they are extending the possibility for travelers to bring food, toiletries and medicines to the island without tariff limits, “as accompanied luggage.” This extension will be from July 1 to December 31, 2022, according to Cuban General Customs on its website.

This measure was announced after the protests of July 11 of last year and was extended until June 30, 2022, by the Ministry of Finance and Prices. Now, the ministry assures that they maintain this temporary decision to relax the limitations “taking into account that the conditions that supported this measure are maintained.”

The current legislation in Cuba on the importation of luggage consists of a complex system of points and weight limits that establishes tariffs on excess items brought by travelers.

In the case of medicines, up to 10 kilograms are allowed to be brought into the country.


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