Venezuela’s epileptic patients struggle with seizures amid drug shortage

Article originally appeared in ReutersVenezuelan plumber Marcos Heredia scoured 20 pharmacies in one day but could not find crucial medicines to stop his epileptic 8-year-old from convulsions that caused irreparable brain damage late last year.

The once giggly and alert boy, also called Marcos, could no longer sit on his own and began to shut off from the outside world.

“I called people in the cities of San Cristobal, Valencia, Puerto La Cruz, Barquisimeto, and no one could find the medicine,” Heredia, 43, said in the family’s bare living room in a windy slum overlooking an international airport in the coastal state of Vargas.

“You can’t find the medicines, and the government doesn’t want to accept that.”

Heredia ended up traveling 860 km (540 miles) by bus to the Colombian border to pick up medicine a cousin had bought him in the neighboring country. He was back at work the next day. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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