The US embargo on Cuba has lasted for over half a century, its effects on health of Cubans well-documented by MEDICC’s founders. But especially as Cuban health strategies and biotech produce impressive results, the policy has boomeranged—against the health of people in the US, too.
Thus, our access to Cuban-developed drugs is held up by extra hurdles that have nothing to do with the FDA regulatory process: medications vital to cancer and diabetes patients that have proven effective in dozens of other countries. Full collaboration between US and Cuban research centers, universities and companies is stymied by the embargo. And the policy even erects obstacles to joint efforts to stop spread of diseases such as Zika, Ebola and others—despite good will and positive steps on both sides to protect our health.
The good news is that renewed diplomatic ties between our two governments open the way for health to be top on the win-win agenda of cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Department of Health & Human Services and Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health was a first, and provides broad opportunities. Thus, while Congress must still lift the embargo altogether, US and Cuban patients and their health care providers can’t wait…and neither has MEDICC…to step up actions to influence policies towards mutually beneficial health.
FIRST, MEDICC recommends and actively supports policy changes that remove roadblocks to US-Cuba health cooperation. Thus, we:
SECOND, MEDICC introduces US institutions and organizations to potential Cuban partners, who together can make a difference for health and health equity in our countries and beyond. Thus we:
It’s high time we build upon President Obama’s opening, by moving ahead to make US-Cuba cooperation benefit health in the United States, Cuba and the world. It’s a must-do in this globalized world of ours.
For more information, contact MEDICC.