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Cubans deal with medicine shortages

Cuban health officials say they are doing what they can to get meds: Granma

For the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, Cuba remains out of bounds.

MIAMI – Health officials reported Thursday they are working to alleviate the pain of Cubans who are facing medicine shortages. 

Rita Garica, the director of operations of BioCubaFarma, told Granma the Communist island imports more than 85 percent of the resources needed to run the pharmaceutical industry on the island. 

A shortage of those resources prompted a limited supply of common drugs such as contraceptives. 

Cristina Lara Bastanzuri, the head of the health ministry's Medicine Planning Department, told Granma that they are working with Chinese providers to keep up with medications needed for cancer and HIV patients.

 According to the report law enforcement is monitoring pharmacists suspected of selling the much needed subsidized medications in the black market at a higher price. 

While the Trump administration continues to discourage U.S.-Cuba interactions, the U.S. National Institutes of Health had approved two $50,000 grants for studies focusing on Zika, chikungunya and dengue.

The Science Magazine reported the grants were "put on hold," because of "long-standing difficulties in transferring funds to Cuba."   

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.