LIMA, Peru — Venezuela’s imploding economy has hit a new low: medicine rationing.
Or so critics are saying.
This week, the health minister unveiled a new national system that requires all patients to register their fingerprints at pharmacies. They will then be allowed to buy just a limited amount of medicines.
Called SIAMED, the Spanish acronym for the Integral System for Access to Medicines, it aims to solve widespread shortages that have left many Venezuelans unable to treat all kinds of ailments, from hemorrhoids to cancer.
The result of the scarcities has been tragic, with allegations of patients dying and doctors even forced to carry out needless mastectomies because they can’t access other means to treat breast cancer.
The government blames the problem on hoarding and speculation. Health Minister Henry Ventura tweeted: “With #SIAMED, we want to eliminate “hoarding” so that everyone has the right to medicine. Sign up!!!”
But many Venezuelans disagree.