Cuba Faces Cancer Drug Shortages

By Cafe Fuerte

A Cuban pharmacy.
A Cuban pharmacy.

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government has set in motion an emergency plan to address a temporary shortage in medications, which includes a number of products used in cancer treatment.

During the Council of Ministers meeting held this past Friday, Public Health Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda explained that the situation stems from delays in the import of raw materials and the need to halt production at the plant that manufactures cancer treatment products, owing to irregularities in the production process.

According to an article published by Granma on Monday, the report offered by Morales was requested by President Raul Castro, who chaired the meeting.

“The minister explained that they have approved a plan that involves the use of products in reserve and the purchase of medications from countries in the region that can transport the product to Cuba quickly,” the report indicated.

Four Months’ Time

The report added that the plan seeks to overcome the problems stemming from the shut-down of the plant within a period four months. It also revealed that a new cancer medication manufacturing plant will be assembled in the long term.

Morales pointed out that, with a view to guaranteeing coverage over the coming months, the government had approved the “required funding.” He did not specify the amount allocated.

Parallel this, the Grupo Empresarial Biocubafarma is adopting measures to try and improve the situation of medications over the second half of the year.

The shortage of certain basic medications at pharmacies and public health centers began to worsen at the beginning of the year and reached internal reports at the Ministry of Public Health.

The Paths of Corruption

At the Council of Ministers meeting, issues such as the functioning of non-agricultural cooperatives, the banking system and cases of administrative corruption brought to light over the past year were also discussed.

Comptroller General Gladys Bejerano offered an overview of the misdemeanors, illegalities and cases of corruption that continue to affect workplaces, pointing out that the struggle against these has not yet yielded the expected results.

According to the report, half of the incidents identified in 2014 are linked to retail outlets, the food industry and the farm product sector. The most serious situations are to be found in Havana, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba.

Bejerano explained that the main cause of these incidents is the misappropriation of State resources for illegal sales and profiting. The most common activities involved inventories, contracts, invoices, the allocation of fuel, the assigning and use of lands, consumption norms and shortages.

According to the report published by Granma, the most common administrative crimes are the falsification of documents, false transfers and the misappropriation of undeposited cash at banks, payroll fraud, the introduction of unauthorized merchandize and payments for services not rendered.

2 thoughts on “Cuba Faces Cancer Drug Shortages

  • Every industry, trade and sector in Cuba has its white and black economy. It is a given. Everybody has their own ‘negocio’ on the go. It is called survival.

  • Sounds like the masses are acting just like the Castro’s.

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