Critical drugs and medicine are not available in oil refining city Coro

Prescription medicaments for chronic illnesses have not been on sale since 2019 in this Western Venezuela state.

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With Venezuela languishing under a humanitarian crisis, key drugs and medicines have proven impossible to obtain in Coro, the capital of Falcon state and home to the largest refinery in the Western Hemisphere.

Patients need to go all the way to Colombia, or even farther afield to obtain the treatment.

Trying to buy a single dose of, say, a painkiller, without wrecking the family budget remains quite a conundrum for the regular citizen as prices of available, existing drugs hike up to 50% every week, pushed up by hyperinflation and scarcity.

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Jorge Luis Morales Hurtado, president of the pharmacists’ college in the state, said shortages began in earnest in 2005. Patients need to visit several drugstores to locate affordably, or just available, medicines and drugs.

Antibiotics, painkillers, muscle relaxants, aspirin, and similar medication including blood-pressure drugs are amongst those most absent from Falcon shelves. And for chronic diseases such as HIV, cancer, diabetes, or post-transplant care, the shortages have also become chronic with some recipes not being able to be filled since last year.

The IVSS drugstores, affiliated with the Maduro regime, do not stock key medicaments regularly, Hurtado told El Pitazo.

A box of acetaminophen now costs around $1 (Bs 80,000), when only a few months ago it was available for between Bs 10,000 to Bs 20,000.

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