Thursday, February 18, 2016

Musings on the pharmaceutical genocidal debacle

Thinking about what I wrote last night, giving Maduro a D-. I realized that I was too generous, that my Scientific objectivity took above my best judgement. These measures mean nothing, at best it is a way for him to gain a few more weeks until he finds a way to save his ass. Nothing basic will change in the system. That is all.

A brutal slap drove that point a couple of hours ago. In yet another cadena Maduro sat in front of him representatives of the pharmaceutical sector to "restart" production which apparently to  him has unaccountably stopped. Basically he rediscovered the wheel and medicines will churned soon for the great contentment of the people. Unfortunately I wok in the sector and things are not as rosy as he would like el pueblo to believe.

Well, a note first: I do not work in the human medical sector but part of my activities are related to animal husbandry medications and the story is exactly the same. There we see much lower yields because animals cannot be treated adequately. And thus less protein for el pueblo.

I am not going to discuss how medicine is paid or costs in Venezuela: every country has its own very complex system. What I am going to address is how come there is today a criminal, yes, criminal, shortages of medicine in Venezuela.

Before Chavez Venezuela did not produce active principles of a large majority of most medicines. Like most countries in the world, it had a wide representation of diverse major pharmaceuticals companies that would or would not produce on site a given principle, pill it or bottle it for Venezuela and export it to neighboring countries. And vice versa. There were also several local pharmaceutical that would get licenses to manufacture all sorts of generics with raw material imported from wherever. In short, a wide variety of pharmaceuticals were available and we were the envy of Latin America. The only problem was cost. Admittedly a significant one but not an insoluble one if a serious government had set its mind to make public hospitals work efficiently and dispense directly medicine to the neediest sectors of the population. And yet costs were not astronomical and at least the middle class managed quite well.

When chavismo set its currency exchange controls, its importations barriers, its refusal to accept that foreign companies recover their investments, the whole system unraveled. Add to this sub par quality imports from Cuba to satisfy Barrio Adentro Mision and other unfair competition and ridiculous price controls and you get the picture.

The mystery is not that pharmacy shelves are empty today, the mystery is how come they have not been empty 2 years ago already.

What happened took place in different phases, First, major foreign laboratories closed one by one, moving their production facilities to Colombia or elsewhere. Quite often the products they manufactured here disappeared, not even coming back imported from the new place. Simply, they left the country, having enough of its problems. Then, as currency crunch happened, suppliers of raw material became more and more reluctant to provide what the local generics needed to make their pills, packagings and the like. The debt ballooned and suppliers simply stopped sending stuff.  Hence the current situation. As for what could not be assembled here, well, they stopped coming even before generics stopped production.

The criminal role of the regime CANNOT be understated: the medical emergency has already been denounced since early last year, people have died, and keep falling and we had to wait until today to finally hear about a new plan that will not resolve anything. At best, the regime announced that it will decide which deseases you can survive and which, well, will be too bad for you if you get them.

The regime guilt comes from its stubborn refusal to create a free exchange rate where people could at least import medicine at international cost. But no, we all have to die the same, and only the very reach, those with hefty accounts over seas can bring whatever they need to bring in. This is XXI century socialism for you.

What is terrible here is that the solution is simple and fast, at least to restock the shelves of the basics.  Remove price controls. Free the currency for import of raw material, packaging needs, etc. In three months top you will get again 90% of the generics produced 2 years ago. The production lines exist, the people to make them are trained. You do not even need to pay back debt to suppliers yet, you can wait a little bit longer for that and start paying it AFTER production restarts. They will understand (I know what I am talking about, direct experience with providers). Many of the raw materials can actually be brought in airborne as they are needed in small amounts. The rest can come in a couple of dozen containers just to restart the basics like acetaminophen for dengue and zika or high blood pressure drugs.

That it will be too expensive? What is worse: cheap inexistant pills or expensive available pills?  For the poor the regime just needs to organize large scale discounted purchases for public hospitals and provide the prescription for free for those that go there for treatment. Or charge them a nominal fee. Corruption is easily control: one package for hospitals and one for pharmacies so you will know if what you buy has been subtracted from an hospital.

It is really quite simple and the dollars for that exist. You just need to stop the corruption around it.

But since the regime is unwilling to do that, then I have the regret to insist on that: the regime is guilty of genocidal practices against the Venezuelan people for deliberately depriving it from on time access to necessary medication.



  1. Anonymous2:21 AM

    I can see that it should be possible to resolve the pharmaceutical problem in just a few months following the measures you mention, but what's in it for Cuba? Castro Inc. will say "¿y como quedo yo aqui?"

  2. Anonymous2:38 AM

    If this is not done soon, the people who are able to restart the production will emigrate. Good luck restarting the production without trained cadres.

    Venezuela is on the fast line to a third world country.

    1. Venezuela HAS been all along a third world country. Only in the 60ies there was the possibility that it vould rise. It did not.

  3. This is horrific on so many levels. The government decides who lives or dies. This is [sic]. Yet the poor want Chavez legacy to continue? Will never understand why!

    1. Whats to understand, the poor are uneducated often stupid and usually ignorant. They are easily manipulated and only remember Chavez gave them stuff and pretended to care for them which no other leader did. No one has the time or media to draw pictures for them in crayon so they can visualize it. Someday when Maduro is gone maybe they will make a cartoon for the ignorant showing how Chavez used them to rob their future, but unlikely most of them get it then.

    2. I understand that! Keep the poor, poor. Make them stand in long lines for food, etc. As long as they struggles to survive, they will never get it. Only the sound bits of what Chavez promised, while robbing them.

  4. Anonymous11:14 AM

    At least the government is consistent. They do not care if you are murdered in the street or die from a lack of drugs.

    Venezuela has become more Cuban than Cuba.

  5. Daniel you forgot one. International drug companies that were unable to repatriate their profits pulled up stakes and left. Importing of finished products evaporated too.

    1. It is there, look for it.

  6. It's an entire regime of Thugs. Thieves. It's not just "Maduro" or "Cabello".

    Or even the Chavista Regime.

    It's MILLIONS of thieves leeching and steeling in 37 "Ministerios".

    And then more Millions.

    Or how else do the many people who do not have an honest job like Daniel survive?

    That's what international observers still do no get. Sorry to repeat it, but Kleptozuela is a Country of Thieves. In one way or another. Or at least Enchufados, in many ways. Getting freebies left and right.

    Very few educated professionals left. We all got the hell out of there long ago. Those who could or should. Very few Honest business people left there.

    As I have said for almost a decade, Cleptozuela's problems are rather simple.

    1/ "El Pueblo" is not as righteous or wise as advertised. Nope. They are way dumber and less "alphabetized" than advertised. Why? Because Venezuelans or others do not speak the obvious truth. It's politically incorrect..

    2/ Massive, Galactic, Unprecedented, World Record Embezzlement.

    But I reiterate, at ALL levels. From the sindicalistas in small Caserios, to the big crooks in Caracas. And even the Campesinos, if they can get a cut, or a palanca, or a segunda, what do you think?

    They entire society, urban and rural is CORRUPT. For the most part.

    That's why even with oil and many riches they became one of THE worst countries on the planet, with just 30 Million people to worry about.

    Not maduro, not cabello or aristobulo, millions and millions of them. millions and millions of chavezes.

    1. Daniel doesn't have an honest job? What rock did you crawl out from?

  7. Oh, and by the way, Maduro. Cabello and Chavez are WAYYYY more educated and intelligent than the bulk of the Venezuelan population. if that gives you a sad, sad, idea. but it's the truth. If you've ever lived there.

    And they smart? Nope. Educated? Of course not. Righteous? But the "Venezuelan Pueblo" is not much better, are they??

  8. Norway is Norway under constant ice and endless winters because their "Pueblo" is way, way smarter, and way, waayyyyyy better educated than my pueblo, in Vzla. They knew what to do with oil. They did not STEAL everything.

    So they are doing quite well.

    The USA? Europe? They have Laws. And are also, much, much better educated than the average Venezuelan. Why doesn't anyone have the guts to admit as much? Plus they don't steal as much. The Chileans? Same Thing. They steal quite a bit, not not even close to what almost EVERY Venezuelan steals. On average. From top to bottom. Costa Rica? Same thing.

    Much Better education, Much less corruption.

    It's not much more complicated than that.

    1. Costa Ricans are born thieves. Don't ever doubt that. Its what they do best. They just steal with a smile on their face and an Alfred E Neuman "what me worry?" attitude. Their legal system exists for the sole purpose of slowwwly removing foreigners and investors from their money. Ticos understand that if you rob them slowly, piece by piece, you will eventually get all their money, then they will go away and new ones will come. Then you rob them slowly, repeat and repeat.
      But, for the most part, they are nonviolent thieves,
      Its called "pura Vida".

    2. lol, I dont know much about costa rica, but that was the impression i got when i was out there... but at least they are non-violent, and they had the balls to cut their military from their government...

  9. Heh, a worthless left-wing webiste has been sucking on the Bolivarian teet recently, but have been told the handouts have run out.


    On the ZNet top page we have had a popup for about a week now. It requests funding help. It is not your ordinary appeal.

    For decades Z has operated on the cusp of life and death, relying on user donations to keep functioning and, at times, grow our efforts. But in recent years, users began to feel that left media should be free and that appeals are intrusions. Fund raising became more difficult. The Facebook/Twitter explosion taking folks away from web sites is another factor.

    In light of the trends, about 18 months ago, Z took on an extra outside job to bring in more funds. The tasks were quite consonant with our general operations. We provided 60 original Opinion articles a month to teleSUR English – gathering about 40 writers, organizing and ensuring their submissions throughout each month, and receiving funds from teleSUR to then pay them. At the end of January the relationship came to an abrupt end as teleSUR took on the tasks themselves.

    TeleSUR had been paying Z $5,000 a month for the tasks we were doing. Beyond that, many of the writers donated part of their fees totaling another $5,000 a month. Thus, a few weeks back, we lost a revenue stream of $10,000 a month.

    The teleSUR arrangement had offset the declines due to factors mentioned above to the extent we were able to operate without pushing for donations during the period. Now, however, things are horribly strained. With the loss of revenues, we are cutting back in all ways we can, which is mainly salaries. Yet draconian cuts are not enough. And so we must fund raise as we did before the teleSUR arrangement, yet even more urgently.

    We ask you to seriously consider the value of ZNet, Z Magazine, ZBooks, and diverse related projects we undertake both to you and to the broader left. We need your solidarity in a difficult time, your mutual aid and sympathy, even. But short of that, as much as I abhor market calculations, I suspect even if you only ask what is it worth, the help we receive will be ample.

    Is Z in all its manifestations worth $5, $10, or more to save? What do you have to give up if you transfer such funds to us, either one time, or monthly as a Sustainer? Plus, is what you get, and what society gets, worth more than the time required to fill out and submit a form?

    Put that way, we hope you will agree that it is, and we hope you will take the few moments required to help in whatever way you are able. We have been at our posts, so to speak, for decades. Keep us there!

    Thank You,
    Michael Albert

  10. Boludo Tejano2:00 AM

    So Telesur can't pay ZComm PSFery any more petrodollars. Schaudenfreude time. I had heard of their South End Press- in fact I bought one of their books some years ago, just to see how the other side thought. Maybe George Soros can throw some money their way.

  11. Look who's back? (

  12. Musings: "a period of reflection or thought."

    As opposed to Amusing: "causing laughter or providing entertainment."

    Be sure to note the difference! (I was about to question Daniel on that. I'm sure it was just another of his wise ruses, almost felt for it!)

    Bien ouaije, come on dit en Provence..


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