Medicine crisis in Venezuela forces people to seek help in US

Global Business

Medicine crisis in Venezuela forces people to seek help in US 3

The impact of the crisis in Venezuela is being felt as far away as Florida. A critical shortage of medicines in the South American country has prompted many people there to seek life-saving drugs from pharmacies abroad.

CCTV America correspondent Steve Mort reports from Miami. Follow Steve Mort on Twitter @mobilemort

Medicine crisis in Venezuela forces people to seek help in US

Medicine crisis in Venezuela forces people to seek help in US

A critical shortage of medicines in the South American country has prompted many people there to seek life-saving drugs from pharmacies abroad.

At a pharmacy counter in Florida, Yesenia Pedroza buys medicine for her family in Venezuela.

She, like hundreds of others in the US, has relatives in the country unable to get a hold of what are often life-saving drugs.

For them, American pharmacies offer their best hope.

“My mother has Parkinson’s Disease and it has been three months since she’s had her medication and her illness is just becoming worse,” Pedroza said.

Healthcare workers in Venezuela say they no longer have access to upwards of 80 percent of medications needed to treat conditions such as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Florida law allows pharmacists to honor foreign prescriptions. But U.S. drug stores only accept dollars which most Venezuelans cannot access due to strict currency controls. It all means only around 10 percent of prescription requests from Venezuela end up being filled in the United States.

Pharm-Aid, a Florida dispensary, receives up to 100 requests from Venezuelans per day and often waives delivery fees.

“We’re trying to give them a good price and to help them because it’s a desperate situation. People is sic dying in Venezuela, kids is sic dying in Venezuela because they cannot get a pill,” Freddy Abreu, owner of Pharm-Aid said.

Florida pharmacies say they expect to remain on the front lines of the crisis in Venezuela for some time, with the economic and security emergency showing no signs of abating.