HAVANA TIMES — Cuba became the leading supplier of pharmaceuticals to Venezuela over the last five years, with sales in 2011 exceeding $292 million, reported El Universal newspaper.

According to figures released by the National Statistics Institute of Cuba, the export of medicine and medical equipment from the island in 2011 saw an increase of 2,613 percent over 2006.

The rapid growth of medical purchases from Cuba surpassed traditional suppliers such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

However, this year’s purchases by Caracas from the US are presently surpassing the quantity of medicine being bought from Cuba.

The large-scale sale of medicines to Venezuela is in sharp contrast to the chronic shortage and irregular supply of basic medicines in pharmacies on the island.

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