October 16, 2019

Cuba’s biopharmaceutical industry suffers from blockade

By the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations.

New York City, 8 October 2019. The blockade continues to be the fundamental obstacle to the implementation of both the Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is only demonstrated if we mention the value of the damages caused to production and service sectors in Cuba between April 2018 and March 2019: 79 million dollars, which represents an increase of 28% in relation to the same previous stage.

Can you imagine what it would mean for Cuba to transform the cost of the blockade into the country’s ability to pay? This would allow, in the medium term, to have an official, substantive and sustained source of financing that would give greater dynamism to the investment programs linked to the strategic sectors of the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030.

In financial terms, it would allow the country’s financial exposure abroad to be favorably reversed, both qualitatively and quantitatively, consolidating the confidence of foreign investors and creditors and substantially increasing the capacity to access financial and capital markets.

But the current Cuban scenario is quite the opposite.

Strategic and prestigious national industries such as Biopharmaceuticals are affected every year with millionaire economic losses in research, development, production and commercialization of their products, as a consequence of the blockade. U.S. measures against Cuba not only limit academic and scientific exchange, but also deprive the U.S. people of receiving the benefits of biotechnology and pharmaceutical products developed in Cuba, which are novel and promising for human health.

Examples abound: the importer-exporter FARMACUBA reported the existence of difficulties in obtaining raw materials for the manufacture of medicines as a result of the blockade against Cuba. Between the 1st of April 2018 and the 31st of March 2019, in the company producing medicines “8th of March” there were interruptions in the productive process, due to the impossibility of acquiring the raw material with the required periodicity. Approximately 2,000 oral suspension units and 61,184 capsules were discontinued.

Meanwhile, a manufacturer of medicines from an Asian country reported not being able to ship the injectable Phenytoin 250mg/5ml to Cuba, because the banks of that country rejected the processing of any documentation related to the island, for fear of being sanctioned by the U.S. This situation led to seek another supplier in Latin America under less favorable conditions.

On the other hand, the Colombian supplier PROENFAR was contracted for the purchase of large volume parenteral serums, but having a U.S. shareholder, the operation could not be completed, affecting the production of 1 million 995 thousand 300 bags of serum.

This is an unofficial translation, original text in Spanishhttp://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/es/articulo/industria-biofarmaceutica-cubana-sufre-los-embates-del-bloqueo

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