MEDICC Urges Executive Actions to Improve U.S. Health Through Greater Cooperation with Cuba

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Cuban medical advances could benefit the health of thousands of Americans

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Joint research with Cuba’s leading scientific institutions such as its Molecular Immunology Center could lead to breakthroughs in cancer treatment and prevention.

Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) today recommended specific actions by President Obama to improve Americans’ health through greater cooperation between the United States and Cuba. Most important, the organization says, is for the president to authorize Cuban-developed pharmaceutical products be reviewed through the same regulatory process as medicines from other countries, without the extra hurdles they now face. This step, plus other executive actions outlined in a white paper released today, could have far-reaching benefits for the health of thousands of Americans. For example, approximately 75,000 of the 29 million diabetics in the U.S. will require amputation from diabetic foot ulcers. International scientific articles show that a Cuban medication, unavailable in the U.S., reduces the risk of diabetic foot amputation by over 70 percent in countries where it is accessible.

“Numerous Cuban innovations, such as a promising lung cancer vaccine that could extend life and quality of life, are helping patients worldwide but not in the U.S.,” said MEDICC executive director Dr. Pierre LaRamée. “Joint research with Cuba’s leading scientific institutions such as its Molecular Immunology Center could lead to breakthroughs in cancer treatment and prevention. With the president’s moonshot commitment to fight cancer, all research leads and partners should be explored.”

The MEDICC white paper “A Safer, Healthier Future through U.S.-Cuba Cooperation” highlights actions the president can take, including general authorizations for:

  •     Cuban-developed pharmaceutical and other medical products to be subject to the same regulatory tests as those from other countries, eliminating extra hurdles and making U.S.–approved Cuban medical treatments more quickly available to American patients.
  •     U.S. pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies to include Cuban hospitals and health centers in their clinical trials, potentially speeding up the approval process of new U.S. drugs by expanding the pool of qualified participants required for testing. Cuba’s Public Clinical Trials Registry, accredited by the World Health Organization, has experience with testing similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements.
  •     U.S. persons to travel to Cuban for medical treatment, providing Americans with more medical options, including Cuban services and treatments recognized worldwide.
  •     U.S. federal agencies to actively communicate and collaborate with Cuba to maximize bilateral cooperation, jointly addressing health emergencies in the U.S., Cuba and globally, including natural disasters and epidemics such as Ebola, dengue and Zika.

Since 1997, MEDICC has worked to enhance cooperation among the U.S., Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes and equity. MEDICC produced the feature film ¡Salud! and publishes the MEDLINE-indexed journal MEDICC Review. MEDICC supports research in Cuba by U.S. health professionals, assists U.S. students and graduates of Havana’s Latin American Medical School to return to U.S. underserved communities, and organizes Community Partnerships for Health Equity to improve health care and access in communities including: South Los Angeles and Oakland, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Bronx, New York; Summit County, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Red Mesa, Navajo Nation; as well as with four California Endowment Building Healthy Communities sites (Kern County, Del Norte County, San Diego and South Los Angeles). See: and

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Jeannie Barbieri-Low
since: 01/2010
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