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, TeleSUR English reported that day.

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

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.