Cuban Irresponsibility Causes Shortage of Medications in Venezuela / Juan Juan Almeida

The medication crisis that was anticipated in Venezuela is a storm that scared people even before it began. Not only because the inventories of the Ministry of Peoples’ Power for the Health of Venezuela, a governmental organization of national jurisdiction, are practically exhausted, but also because some of the medications handled by the Cuban medical mission came into the country without the consistent rigor of matching them to a corresponding medical registry.

It’s repugnant to read how a country’s problems are met with messianic discourse and disgusting to hear how some of the upper-echelon Venezuelan health officials justify the bad management, assuring people that the scarcity of medications is due to laboratory workers taking vacations, and the chains of distribution being altered because of an “economic war,” and that as a result of “enemy” propaganda there was alarm, which caused people to buy in 15 days what they usually buy over 2 months.

The Cuban and Venezuelan governments some time ago crossed the line of respect for human dignity, and for that reason, although I’m not giving the written numbers, I’m copying part of the report issued by the Analysis Group for Medications of the Cuban Medical Mission in Venezuela, received via email in the Ministry of Public Health in Cuba.

In this dossier there is evidence of unquestionable irresponsibility that crosses the criminal line, and a deficit of medications that the Biofarmacuba company hasn’t procured and won’t procure for delivery on the agreed-on dates in order to fulfill the recent yearly plan.

According to the report, there’s a mountain of medications lacking for the 2015 plan that Biocubafarma won’t be able to provide. I list some of them here:

1. Ampicillin 125 mg/5 ml p/susp x 60 ml: Out of stock in the warehouses.

2. Local anesthesia (cartridge of 1.8 cc: Out of stock. Pending (Dentistry).

3. Atropine 0.5 mg amp x 1 ml: Not in solution, controlled, without medical registration in Venezuela. (CDI, Surgery).

4. Atenolol 0.5 mg amp: In facilities. Pending arrival in Cuba of discontinued imported product.

5. Carbamazepine 200 mg x 90 tab: Not in solution because it is a controlled product. Imported. Not on medical registry in Venezuela (Peoples’ Medical Consult).

6. Cefalexina 500 mg x 10 cap: Pending production.

7. Ciprofloxacin 200 mg/100 ml BBO: Pending export (General Use).

8. Clorhidrato de tramadol 100 mg amp: Pending import permit.

9. Chlorpromazine 25 mg amp x 1 ml: Not in solution. Controlled product. Imported without medical registration in Venezuela.

10. Diclofenac sodium: 1 mg/ml col x 5 ml (Voltaren): Not in solution. Inventory expired (Eye Clinics).

11. Digoxina 0.25 mg x 20 tab: Out of stock. Pending removal from port.

12. Elitrol 1 x 5 ml fco: Out of stock. Pending arrival in Cuba of imported discontinued product.

13. Ergometrine 0.2 mg x 1 mil: Not in solution. Controlled and imported without medical registration in Venezuela.

14. Glibenclamide 5 mg x 10 tab: Out of stock in warehouses.

15. Hydralazine 20 mg amp x 1 mil: Out of stock in warehouses.

16. Hydrocortisone 100 mg bbo: Out of stock in warehouses.

17. Actrapid Insulin 100 u bbo x 10 ml. Out of stock.

18. Human Insulin 100 NPH bbo x 10 ml: Out of stock.

19. Isoprenaline 0.2 mg amp: Out of stock. Pending removal from port (High Technology Centers-CAT).

20. Meropenem 1G BBO: Unavailable for 22 weeks (Therapy and hospitalization).

21. Salicure-Test 50 det x 100 ml. (Clinical reagent).

22. Ureterovesical probe No. 18 x 20: Out of stock.

23. Coombs serum: Out of stock.

24. P Tubes/Pentra Complete Hematology packet x 400: Distributed one part of what was received because of their expiration dates. 

25. Thiamine 100 mg bbo: Not yet in solution due to technological problems (CDI).

26. Timolol Missing for 20 weeks. Reported by 12 states. Affected by material in the container.

27. Thiopental 500 mg bbo: Missing for 6 weeks. Affected by raw material.

28. Vitamin A and D2 drops x 15 mil: Not in solution, inventory expired (Peoples’ Medical Consult).

29. Vitamin C drops fco x 15 ml: Not in solution, inventory expired (Peoples’ Medical Consult).

This is enough without boring you to show that – as my grandmother, who didn’t have good sight but knew how to see – would say: It’s much easier to catch a liar than a cripple.

Translated by Regina Anavy

2 February 2015