Cuba faces medications shortage due to U.S. blockade

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
2022-05-14 09:49:09


Eduardo Martinez. File Photo

Havana, May 13 (RHC) -- International providers of supplies and medicines are suspending business with Cuba because of the U.S. blockade; an official source denounced on Friday.

Cuba lacks 143 medicines out of the 627 that make up the basic health care package, and 94 percent of them have not been manufactured due to the lack of materials to produce them, Eduardo Martínez, president of the BioCubaFarma Business Group, told Cuban deputies.

The executive explained in the parliamentary committee on Health and Sports that the Cuban biopharmaceutical industry has had problems to collect revenues from its exports or to pay its suppliers due to the banks' refusal to carry out transactions with Havana.

He showed evidence of companies that stop supplies with the island because of the risk of being fined by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which penalizes those who sell goods to Havana that have more than 10 percent of components of U.S. origin.

He added that airlines and shipping companies have also refused to transport supplies and medicines to Cuba for fear of being penalized by the U.S. government.

The Helms-Burton and Torricelli Acts and the inclusion of Cuba on the list of alleged state sponsors of terrorism establish financial sanctions on banking entities that carry out transactions with Cuba and prevent Cuban companies from accessing markets and suppliers in the region.

OFAC also drew up a list of around 200 sanctioned Cuban companies, whose practical impact has repercussions in third countries.

Martínez said that to mitigate the impact of this situation, BioCubaFarma is implementing an action plan aimed at diversifying the  suppliers and exportable items.

He pointed out that, despite the tensions, during the period the industry guaranteed the production of three billion 500 million units of products, among them the vaccines against Covid-19 of national production.

Fifty-nine percent of the medicines used in Cuba are produced by the national industry, which annually demands between 150 and 180 million dollars to carry out this activity.




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