Cuba to produce antibiotics locally to save on expensive imports — MercoPress

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Cuba to produce antibiotics locally to save on expensive imports

Thursday, August 4, 2022 – 09:18 UTC


Cuba’s public healthcare system must also meet the demands of practicing physicians in a very large elderly population.

Cuban health authorities announced earlier this week that the Caribbean nation would produce certain antibiotics in high demand in intensive care units (ICUs) to save on their high price.

The list includes drugs such as Meropenem, Rocephin and Cefotaxime, essential antibiotics for hospital use “with a broad treatment spectrum for bacterial infections, pneumonia and meningitis”, according to state-owned company Empresa Farmacéutica 8 de Marzo.

Several drugs will be produced in Cuba “once the injectable cephalosporin factory, which should be completed by the end of this year, is put into operation”. Among the first will be the antimicrobials Meropenem 500 mg and 1 mg, Ceftriaxone (Rocephin) 1 g, Cefotaxime 1 g, Cefazolin 500 mg and 1 g, Cefuroxime 750 mg, Ceftazidime 1 g and Cefepime 1 g.

The facility will be “the only producer of this type of antibiotic in the country, and 90% of the material that will be used is already in Cuba”, according to local authorities.

The importation of these drugs means a disbursement of 7 to 8 million US dollars each year. Empresa Farmacéutica 8 de Marzo already has two factories across the country that can handle the new product line, it was reported.

BioCubafarma Group CEO Eduardo Martínez told a national parliamentary committee earlier this week that they were working “intensely to solve the many drug shortages” in the country.

Experts have also argued that Cuba has a state-run healthcare system that must also meet the demands of doctors among a very large elderly population.

Among the main causes of shortages of this type of drug is the unavailability of raw materials, coupled with plant stoppages due to maintenance work.

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