Cuban Dentist: Patients Can Bring Resin But Not Anesthesia

Anesthesia, he warned, is administered directly to the nerve through infiltrative techniques, for which reason only drugs certified by CECMED* are used. Photo: 14ymedio

When using other inputs of dubious origin, the risk increases and the official decision in this case is not to intervene, says the state press

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – Sancti Spíritus hospitals refuse to use the medical supplies provided by the patients themselves if they are not previously approved by the Center for State Control of Quality of Medications (CECMED). Daniel Álvarez Rojas, head of the Stomatology (Oral Medicine) section in the province, admitted that they do not have the necessary resources, but that they cannot be held responsible if the medicine has been acquired on the black market or if it does not have quality certifications.

In an interview with Escambray, Álvarez Rojas confirmed that in Sancti Spíritus, as in the rest of the Island, medical centers have no choice but to work with the medicines that patients bring. In the case of his specialty, he explained, they allow amalgams or resin because “they do not compromise life”, but when it comes to using other supplies of dubious origin, such as anesthesia, the risk increases and the official decision in those cases is not to intervene.

Anesthesia, he warned, is administered directly to the nerve through infiltration techniques, for which reason only drugs certified by CECMED are applied.

The measures to alleviate the shortages in Cuba authorize the duty-free importation of food, toiletries and medicines. However, the newspaper adds, some “have ignored the ‘non-commercial’ warning and forget that certain medications, such as anesthesia, can put a person’s life at risk.”

Escambray acknowledges that “it is understandable” that more and more people from Sancti Spiritus turn to social networks to buy drugs in their “desperate attempt” to put an end to a toothache. The newspaper points out that “it is no longer surprising” to find on the classified portal of Revolico the sale of bottles of dental anesthesia at prices between 500 and 600 pesos, along with other medicines for bronchiolitis, vitamins, and even the antiparasitic metronidazole.

Álvarez Rojas explained that there are few occasions in which the vials carried by the patients can really be used in the treatments, because they lack key information for their use, such as the expiration date and the CECMED certification. “Sometimes, the way of administering this imported medicine is also very different from the one we use in Cuba, with different doses,” he said.

Thus, people who go to the black market to buy an anesthetic bulb are in danger of losing their money, because no dentist will risk applying the drug without the minimum specifications, he warned.

The dentist pointed out that hospitals in the province are facing an anesthesia shortage, which they hope to temporarily overcome with the recent arrival of a batch to Cuba. The drug will be used for dental extractions and other treatments, added the professional, who believes that more imported supplies will be available in 2023. Of supplies available in 2022, he assured that attention to pregnant women, children under 19 years of age, the elderly, and people with disabilities was prioritized.


*CECMED: Regulatory Authority of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices of the Republic of Cuba, responsible for promoting and protecting public health.

Translated by Norma Whiting for Translating Cuba


Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

4 thoughts on “Cuban Dentist: Patients Can Bring Resin But Not Anesthesia

  • This is another one of those only in Cuba stories. Even in a country like Haiti or Southern Sudan where, in effect, there is no central government, anesthesia for use in a dentist office is in decent supply.

  • This is the vaunted Cuban health system that is free but it is not free. In addition to Cubans obtaining a miserable salary lower than Burundi, the Cuban people live under an iron dictatorship without individual liberties and daily repression. The defenders of the Cuban dictatorship cannot make allusions to the “Blockade” because the embargo has an exception for food and medicine.

  • Interesting but good citizens of our little town in rural Holguin are able to use Marcaine, one of the US standard dental anesthesia, available free from my Cuban wife. Now it is in original sealed cartridges with full documentation available from the box including expiration date. All courtesy of my US dentist. Probable difference is that the Cuban dentists know the original source and documentation is available.

    Great reason to be a good citizen. If you are one of those who hits their spouse, cheats people, or butts ahead in line at the bodega, no pain medicine for you. You get to do your dental procedure without anesthesia.

  • What a horrible situation Cubans have to live in. The care of the mouth has always been for me something of great terror, because not only for things like mouth stench but also toothache is a continuous torture, which can lead you to despair to do things that can threaten yourself as using narcotic painkillers.

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