CARACAS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela will buy medicine directly from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to attend to its scarcity of drugs and face the U.S. financial blockade, an official announced Monday.
"Transnationals ... we will no longer buy from you directly, we will purchase directly from the Pan American Health Organization. We will no longer go through intermediaries," Venezuelan Health Minister Luis Lopez told a local radio station.
Venezuela has signed an agreement with PAHO to acquire "all oncological treatments, treatments for patients who have had transplants, patients who require insulin."
The minister said the measure would allow an end to the "mafias, thieving and intermediation by people" who smuggle drugs into the country.
"There is a cartel which places pressure on an international level, but also at the national level. The pharmaceutical companies do nothing for the population, they only operate based on their profits," said Lopez.
The health ministry has optimized the sending of supplies and medicine to the health network, and over six people have recently been arrested for illicit selling of medicine, Lopez added.
According to Lopez, a registry of patients with cancer, diabetes or after transplant operations will be created to verify how many people need the drugs received from PAHO.
Venezuela is currently facing severe scarcity of food and medicine, forcing the government to seek alternative measures.