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Venezuelan Military to Control Medicine Supply in Public Hospitals

By: Karina Martín - Nov 3, 2016, 5:10 pm
"We're going strong into the health sector, we were evaluating the whole process with the Ministry of Health" (el periodiquito)
Maduro justifies the military’s control over medical supplies by appealing to the declared state of emergency. (el periodiquito)

EspañolThe distribution of medicine in Venezuela is not the responsibility of the military.

Defense Minister of Venezuela Vladimir Padrino Lopez announced Wednesday, November 2 that the country’s National Armed Forces is now responsible for the distribution of medicines and surgical supplies to all public hospitals.

Officials said it will take control of this aspect of the health sector “to ensure that these medicines and supplies reach the patient efficiently and neatly and properly handle their distribution and allocation.”

“Let’s take control of the distribution of all drugs, all medical and surgical materials administered to all hospitals,” said Lopez Cadena on Venezolana de Television.

The defense minister is also the coordinator of the Great Mission Sovereign Supply (GMAS). He explained that Venezuela is being governed under a state of emergency declared by President Nicolás Maduro, and for this reason it is necessary that the FANB take control of the distribution of medicines.

“Since yesterday we started with 60 different hospitals — this will be a first stage, but GMAS announced that it will go deeper to address the health sector … We are in an economic emergency, the priority now is to meet the needs of the people,” Lopez said.

Padrino López also mentioned that the FANB will not always be in hospitals, but will visit periodically to “not feel harassed.”

Just four months ago the Ministry of Health implemented a new system to regulate the production, distribution and marketing of all drugs produced or imported into the country by controlling five drug store chains in Venezuela, all private enterprise.

The Venezuelan Medical Federation (FMV) has been open about its struggles, claiming it only has  four or five percent of materials for a given procedure, and that the government has left the healthcare system in a state of “abandonment.”

However, President Maduro has blamed the situation on the alleged “economic war” launched by the Venezuelan right with the support of foreign powers that want to overthrow the government. The opposition, meanwhile, has attributed poor economic management to “Chavismo.”

Sources: Te Interesa; Noticiero Venevisión.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.