CARACAS – More than two-dozen Venezuelan transplant patients protested on Thursday over a nationwide shortage of life-saving medicines, demanding that the state-run IVSS health system take action.
Caracas resident Guillermo Valero, who got a transplant 15 years ago, told EFE that he has been waiting six months to receive his anti-rejection drugs, which are essential to preserve the integrity of the donated organ.
Valero, 56, said that because of the shortage of medicines in Venezuela’s public health system, he has had to buy the drugs on the market for the equivalent of $200.
He said that the anti-rejection drugs he needs could be imported from Colombia for around $800 per dose, but he doesn’t have the money to afford the three doses he requires.
Iraida Barona, 47, traveled 200 kilometers (124.3 miles) from Guarico to join the protest, saying that she had come to Caracas to demand the “right to health, to have a proper quality of life” and to show her support for the patients whose health has been affected.
Ramon Chavier, 51, came 360 kilometers from his home in the western city of Barquisimeto to join the demonstration, holding a sign saying “my son donated his kidney to me, I don’t want to lose it.”
Francisco Valencia, spokesperson of the Venezuelan Coalition for the Defense of the Right to Health and to Life, told EFE that at least 300,000 Venezuelans could be at risk of dying because of the shortage of medicines.