US blockade denies Cuban cancer sufferer needed drugs

The hospital where Bernardez is being treated says its struggling to obtain Temozolomida.

A Cuban girl is being deprived of urgently needed cancer treatment due to the United States' blockade, doctors said on October 28, .

Seven-year-old Noemi Bernardez underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour in September and is now undergoing further treatment including radiation therapy. However, her doctors say the likelihood Bernardez will survive is low without access to a specialised drug made in the US, Temozolomida.

“It's essential for Noemi and other patients with the same condition to receive treatment that improves their chance of survival, such as Temozolomida,” Dr Migdalia Perez told TeleSUR.

Without the drug, Bernardez has a 20% chance of surviving. Comparably, patients with Bernandez's condition generally have a 70% chance of beating cancer when their treatment includes Temozolomida.

However, the crucial drug is close to impossible to obtain in Cuba, where suppliers are unable to directly purchase Temozolomida from its US manufacturer.

Due to the US blockade, the Cuban health ministry has been forced to hunt for the drug from third party suppliers – a difficult feat given US laws that penalise foreign subsidiaries of US-based companies from trading with Cuba

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