When updating the members of the Health and Sports Commission during the first ordinary session of the National People’s Power Assembly, Martínez explained that the shortage corresponds to both imported and domestically-produced medicines, and represents 40 percent of the Cuban basic medicines.
Among the main causes of this shortage, he listed the unavailability of raw materials and materials necessary for production, in addition to stoppages in the production plants due to maintenance or breakage.
Regarding the causes of the lack of materials, he explained that the necessary and timely financing is not available, as well as problems for the payment of suppliers due to the refusal of banks to work with Cuba, because of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for over six decades.
Martínez added that the usual suppliers have stopped supplying because of the economic siege and that the world deficit of some raw materials and materials for pharmaceutical use also plays a role.
Taking into account the sensitivity of the issue, he expressed that the government established a working system for the control of the process of planning, production and distribution of medicines.
There is also, he said, a strict control of the entire production process, the annual demand for medicines is estimated, each company structures its production operations plan for the year and priority levels have been established based on the impact that the medicine has on people’s health.
Likewise, Mr. Martínez explained there is a plan to increase income from exports and substitute imports, a financial strategy is being implemented to minimize the effects of the blockade and a permanent search for suppliers is being carried out.
Thanks to these actions, he said that in the first half of this year more than 1,300,000 units of medicines were produced.
He explained that Biocubafarma has 46 companies, 115 production lines and more than 19,000 workers, and in 2023 it took on the challenge of producing 14 more drugs than it supplied the previous year.