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does not take many speculations to understand why someone would resort to the
illegal market in a country with medicine shortages of around 86%, according to
the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation. It is already becoming a common
practice in Venezuela, hand in hand with the crisis.
few talk about it. Fear for doing something illegal and exposing the person who
gives them a small dose of life —though often at the expense of denying that
same dose to another patient— predominates.
(a fictitious name to protect her identity) has been an oncology patient. When
facing the disease, she faced the dilemma of submerging or not in the
underground medicine market. She continues today with the maintenance cycles
that the doctor prescribed, but the hardest phase of treatment has ended. You
could say it is out of danger. "What they do with us is not human. Nobody should
resell cancer drugs," she said in a first contact. A few months ago, she ran out
of Avastin, a monoclonal antibody that is used in the treatment of different
types of cancer, such as breast cancer. "I needed it. It is distressing being
sick and topping it with worries. When they diagnose cancer, they tell you to
avoid stress," she explains, face to face, in Maracaibo, the capital of the
state of Zulia (northwest of Venezuela), where she lives. It was at the clinic
there where she came into contact with the illegal drug market. Her treating
doctor gave her a phone number. "He told me that I could get what I needed
there. He had already talked with other bachaqueros [Editor’s Note:
Spanish name given in Venezuela to black market traders] but they did not
fulfill. I paid good money and I was left with nothing."