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Cuba: Nationwide medicine shortage

Officials report chronic shortage of common medicines due to inability to pay for imported drugs and ingredients

09 Dec 08:53 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 12/9/2017, 12:00 AM until 12/16/2017, 11:59 PM (America/Havana). COUNTRY/REGION Cuba


Health officials reported on Thursday, November 30, that the government is working to address a chronic shortage of medicines that began over a year ago. According to pharmacists, many common medicines such as contraceptives, treatments for hypertension, antihistamines, and painkillers, are in short supply. The authorities are reportedly working with foreign suppliers to improve the availability of imported medicines.


The shortage is reportedly the result of the government’s lack of foreign currency reserves to pay for imported medicine and raw material for locally produced medicines. Cuba imports some 37 percent of all its medicines and 85 percent of active ingredients in locally-produced medicines.


Individuals traveling to Cuba should bring with them a sufficient supply of all necessary medication (as well as an additional two-week supply in case the trip is unexpectedly extended). All travelers are advised to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance (covering emergency evacuation) prior to departure.

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