The State BioCubaFarma Group Recognizes a Deficit of 40 Percent of Medicines in Cuba

A pharmacy on Enramadas Street in Santiago de Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana, 18 July 2023 — The State Group of the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries (BioCubaFarma) recognized, on Tuesday, a deficit of 40% in the basic table of medicines in Cuba.

The president of the business group, Eduardo Martínez, explained in a session in the Cuban Parliament that the deficit currently includes 251 drugs, according to the Prensa Latina news agency.

Martínez said that the insufficiency covers imported and domestically produced medicines and pointed out problems with access to financing due to the direct effects of the United States economic embargo.

He mentioned in this regard that the usual suppliers stopped supplying due to the embargo, to which is added the global deficit of some raw materials and materials for pharmaceutical use.

There are no raw materials or the materials necessary for production, said the director of the pharmaceutical group in charge of supplying 369 basic medicines to the national health system.

Last May, the director of Operations and Technology of BioCubaFarma, Rita María García, told the official press that the plant – which is allocated 60% of the production of basic medicines at the national level – managed to reactivate some drug production lines of medications in high-demand among the population, with the arrival of inputs purchased by the Government and other “managements,” without specifying whether they corresponded to donations.

Among the drugs that were to be manufactured again are the injectables of aminophylline, labetalol, fenoterol and morphine of 10 and 20 milligrams (mg), of wide hospital use for patients in intensive care. The laboratories dedicated to the manufacture of these drugs were paralyzed for almost four months because they did not have containers — such as ampules, plungers or casings — due to the shortage of glass.

BioCubaFarma has 46 companies, 115 production lines and more than 19,000 workers, according to Prensa Latina.

The shortage of basic products, such as food and medicines, was one of the main economic elements in the anti-government protests of July 11, 2021, the largest in decades.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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