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Jamaica approves sale of Cuban cancer drug


KINGSTON — Months after Cuban government representatives introduced cancer-fighting drug Vidatox to Jamaican distributors, the item is to be sold here soon.

A team from the Cuban drug company Labiofam is in Jamaica to tie up a deal with a major local distributor, following approval given by the Ministry of Health.

“We are close to signing an agreement with a large distributor,” Dr Carmen Morales Paneque, specialist in clinical trials at Labiofam told the Jamaica Observer in an interview.

“We registered Vidatox here on June 18, and we have received approval from Jamaica’s Ministry of Health so now we are here to sign contracts with that distributor, which I am sure will happen before we leave Jamaica.

“I don’t want to disclose the name of that company now, but its representatives will do so at the appropriate time,” said Morales Paneque, a gynaecologist, biologist and clinical researcher at the Havana headquartered company, which employs over 4,400 Cubans between its main plant and branches islandwide.

The Ministry of Health disclosed yesterday that it had given approval for the prescription drug to be placed in Jamaican pharmacies.

“The Ministry of Health can confirm that the drug Vidatox has been registered in Jamaica,” Stephanie Shaw Smith, the ministry’s manager of public relations and communication told the Observer.

“Once a drug is registered and the manufacturer is notified, it can then be placed on the market,” she added.

Vidatox, made from the venom of the Rhopalrus Junceus scorpion, which is endemic to Cuba, is already being used in countries of Asia, Europe, North, South and Central America, to help in the fight against various cancers.

A further 70 requests from other countries for the drug to be registered there, have been made, Morales Paneque said.

Cuban authorities say that over 25,000 people from Italy travel to Cuba each year for cancer treatment, which includes the use of Vidatox.

The drug has been used to treat cancer-related ailments among the Cuban population for over 200 years, but has been formally integrated in the Cuban drug culture for about 30 years.

Cuban medical officials have said that the drug is safe, with no side effects and is being used by thousands worldwide to treat cancers including those which affect the cervix, pancreas, prostate, lung, breast, colon, brain, among others. (Observer)

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