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Cuba: “Black Market Medicines in Havana”

HAVANA TIMES — Medicine being sold on the black market or “on the side” is a very delicate subject. We all know about the difficult situation this country has with relation to medicines, both in manufacturing or importing them. This directly impacts the people who need them, sometimes even the ones which are distributed under State regulation via the so-called “health card” are missing.

Some are missing because the raw material that is imported to make them takes a while to reach Cuba, or because getting this raw material becomes hard work because of the US embargo. Looking at the situation from this angle only, it’s understandable that they are in shortage as the embargo is a reality which limits many deals, even though the Cuban government uses it to death to justify their own mistakes.

What isn’t understandable, and is quite offensive in fact, is that we need to buy many of these medicines which can’t be found in pharmacies on the street, paying exorbitant prices, sold by people who have nothing to do with official places authorized to sell them.

Why is this happening? At different times over the years, the government has announced that it would take measures to tackle this, but it continues to happen. The police has even been involved in the crusade against the illegal trade of medicines, taking those who dedicate themselves to this illegal and inhumane activity before the courts.

It’s really shameful that in a country which brags about being a medical power, which sends doctors and health specialists to all four corners of the Earth and it’s true that they really do provide medical care to every citizen that turns up at a polyclinic or hospital, there is a mafia of well-organized criminals in the health sector.

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