Venezuela’s Maduro Appeals to UN over Medicine Shortages

The Venezuelan president announced Friday that he had requested assistance from the United Nations to help the country respond to critical issues in its health sector. 


Caracas, March 27, 2017 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed Friday that his government had requested help from the United Nations to deal with the “economic and social wounds” caused by the country’s deep recession.

“I have asked the United Nations for support to attend to the economic and social wounds affecting our people due to the economic war and the abrupt fall in oil prices last year. Although we have recovered somewhat this year, [the price of oil] is still low,” announced the head of state.  

Maduro indicated that UN assistance would be directed at helping his government respond to critical issues in the health sector and especially at boosting the supply of medicines.  

“I have asked them for support to continue making permanent progress in the regularisation of medicines for hospitals,” he said. 

Since the economic crisis hit more than two years ago, Venezuelans have faced increasing shortages of vital medicines, particularly for health issues such as diabetes and hypertension. According to Venezuela’s Pharmaceutical Federation, medicine shortages reached 85 percent in 2016. 

The government accuses private pharmaceutical companies of embezzling millions in state-subsidized dollars in order to re-sell them on the extremely profitable black market. Meanwhile private businesses have claimed that they have no access to dollars to import vital medicines. 

Although the president did not specify what kind of assistance he had requested from the UN, he indicated that the organization would conduct a full review of Venezuela’s public health sector. 

He revealed that he had made the request following a meeting with the Latin America director for the United Nations Development Programme, Jessica Faieta.

“I have asked the United Nations to regularize the whole medicine issue. The United Nations has the most advanced plans to recover the pharmaceutical industry’s productive capacity,” he announced.  

Last December Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez revealed that she had met with representatives from organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to discuss cooperation in streamlining medical imports.