In case you haven’t heard, there is a new drug in town going through clinical trials in the United States. “So what?” you might be saying, “There are lots of drugs going through clinical trials.” You’re right, but this drug is different. The drug, nimotuzumab, is the first drug developed by Cuba since Fidel Castro took power to be entered into clinical trials in the U.S. and health experts state that this drug could be used to help fight the type of cancer that the late Senator Ted Kennedy succumbed to. Unfortunately, as with a lot of things that seem too good to be true, there’s a catch. At this point, even if the drug passes through clinical trials with flying colors it still could not be put into the U.S. marketplace for purchase. Why? Because of the embargo against Cuba of course! Situations like this raise questions about whether the embargo is still feasible and about the status of U.S. healthcare in general. Proponents on both sides of both issues have valid points. Lately, among some circles, there seems to be what certain people are calling a “slow erosion” of the U.S. policy against Cuba rather than an outright dismissal of it. Both times I traveled to Cuba I saw many American products on the shelves of several shops and malls. They were priced higher than what we would typically pay for them here in the U.S. but nonetheless, they were available.
Regarding the U.S. healthcare debate, according to an MSNBC.com report, nearly 1 in 5 workers is uninsured, this statistic is in no doubt due in part to the number of U.S. citizens losing their jobs and their insurance coverage in the current recession. Hopefully after President Obama’s speech in September, the American people will urge their legislators to work with the President to bring into legislation healthcare that is accessible, feasible and affordable for all.