Medicine Shortage in Venezuela



HAVANA TIMES — Until otherwise proven, there’s only this life. To care for this life – or save it – we must sometimes resort to a hospital, a clinic or any healthcare center where they offer the service we need.

The situation of healthcare in Venezuela has worsened over these past months.

It is no longer simply the poor quality of medical services, the shortage of public hospitals or the high price of medical attention and medications. For months, perhaps as long as a year, the situation has become critical.

Public hospitals lack basic supplies and medications used to treat serious conditions are harder and harder to find. I know people with cancer who haven’t been able to alleviate their pain because pharmacies and hospitals lack the medication they need.

Social networks have become the best means of finding medication. But, most of the time, these searches are fruitless.

Recently, my niece-in-law got sick because of stomach parasites and had to be admitted. She’s five and, for several days, had vomiting and diarrhea because the needed medication was nowhere to be found. Neither friends nor acquaintances were able to find any liolactil at pharmacies, both in and outside Caracas.


Ultimately, someone found it, almost miraculously. Her condition didn’t worsen and had a happy ending, but I’ve heard of other children who didn’t get their medication on time…or not at all.

All is lost in the foggy statistics of those who perish from serious diseases, and statistics do not speak of the suffering these people endure while awaiting death…or how they sense they are losing their lives when a simple medication could save them.

February 27th marked yet another anniversary of the “Caracazo” (A series of heated protests and disturbances in 1992). I hope all positive energies will steer this country away from another social upheaval and from the terrible massacre that ensued at the time. If there is a powerful and clear motive for Venezuelans to take the streets, it is precisely the shortage of medications and the lack of any concrete actions to address this situation.


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

7 thoughts on “Medicine Shortage in Venezuela

  • Right! They are in “private hands” [grin!]. And no doubt THAT is why there has been so much capital flight from the country….and why the currency has maintained such a high value! Meanwhile, those “Private hands” that produce are able to sell WHAT they produce at prices THEY decide in locations THEY choose, aren’t they? [cackle]

    In short, get real, Sport. Dig your head out of the sand and take a look at what’s ACTUALLY going on around ya’!

    As for Cuba….yeah, it “may possibly be due”. But let’s face it; it’s far more likely (to the point of certainty) that it’s due to the tyrannical control of the economy and society generally by a couple of clowns who go by the name of Castro…in league, of course, with the cut-throats and murderers who helped bring them to power.

    That said, how does an embargo “impoverish” a country? Are you saying that a country may be “impoverished” simply because another country denies GIVING it something? Or that Cuba has been “impoverished” because those who had their property expropriated by those tyrants/clowns who go by the name “Castro” said “hell no, we’re not giving you anymore. You’ve stolen enough already!” That the “possibly” you’re dealing with their, Sport?

  • Venezuela will announce another capitalist currency exchange program today
    but below is an interesting article to read:

    Venezuela Is Using Distressed Bonds to Pay Off Its Debts to Drugmakers…

    Venezuela has settled debts with at least three global drug companies by giving them bonds that trade at a heavy discount, a further sign of the OPEC nation’s worsening financial crisis.

    Novartis, Bayer, and Sanofi acquired dollar-denominated bonds from state-owned oil company PDVSA that they resold for as little as a third of their face value, according to a Reuters analysis of regulatory filings and sources with knowledge of the situation. This contributed to some $500 million in foreign exchange losses that the three companies suffered in Venezuela in 2015. The extent of the bond transactions has not been previously reported.

    The payment method provided a shortcut around the country’s troubled 13-year-old currency control mechanism. The system is widely regarded as a primary cause of runaway inflation, a deep recession and chronic product shortages that have afflicted Venezuela‘s economy

  • What is to blame in Venezuela is the worldwide price of oil on which much of the Venezuelan economy depends. Having a major resource collapse by 75% would crush any economy.
    The Venezuelan people vote for their leaders .
    As powerful as Fidel is in your mind, he does not appoint the government in Venezuela.
    You need to take your medication for that paranoia..

  • The means of production in Venezuela are in private hands .
    Capitalism is the private ownership and operation of the means of production .
    Ergo Venezuela cannot be anything but capitalist
    And the shortages in Cuba may possibly be due to the crushing 55 year-old U.S. embargo put in place to impoverish the island and cause a counter-revolution but perhaps you’ve not read much of the history.

  • Venezuela is “capitalist”. Right! [smile]

    Sorry, but if Venezuela was capitalist, the medicine would at least be AVAILABLE; at worst, one would have to pay a high price for it. But, again, AT LEAST IT WOULD BE AVAILABLE!

    And, of course, the Castro brothers have made sure through the years that there never have been any shortages of consumer commodities – such as medicines – in Cuba, haven’t they? [cackle]

  • I have friends in Mérida and El Vigia who face some of the same problems. There is a type boycott going on with some pharmaceutical companies and with the lack of preferential dollars available to purchase them, after giving them to many US companies, Polar and others who sell products on the black market. There is much corruption in the capitalist system still in control of the economy.

    Venezuela is a capitalist country not socialist and the Castro Brothers have little to do with it.

  • In Venezuela there’s no US embargo to blame for these shortages. What is to blame are the socialist policies endemic to centrally planned economies. The Castros are obviously not content to screw up only Cuba. They are also culpable for the problems that Venezuela is having.

Comments are closed.