Will Venezuela prove to be the newest battleground for GPOs in the medical supply industry looking to expand market share across the globe?
Only time will tell.
As Venezuela reels in political and economic crisis, hospitals continue to send sick patients home from a medical system on the brink of collapse.
At Central Hospital in Maracay, doctors last month discharged some 300 cancer patients when medical supply shortages forced triage, leaving most non-emergency patients — the long-term sick — without any treatment.
Doctors in Venezuela say no government healthcare statistics have been collected since 2010, although they know for sure they’re lacking medical supplies across the gamut: needles, syringes, paraffin used in biopsies for cancer diagnostics, X-ray film, imaging paper, and so forth.
To further complicate this appalling situation, Venezuela suspended organ donations and transplants, as 70 percent of the country’s radiotherapy machines clunked out of repair. In a country of nearly 30 million people, the medical shortages continue to harm many cancer patients. In an estimate from Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation, radiotherapy machine shortages may cut cancer treatment for 5,000 of the current 19,000 cancer patients requiring care.
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Ironically, the collapse of Venezuela’s medical system follows the death from cancer of the late authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez, a “socialist hero” to many in Latin America. It would be truly fascinating to see the sickly health system of Venezuela healed by “capitalist companies” hailing from the United States of America.
But frankly, what other realistic options are there?
Apparently, dependable medical supply companies in that pitiful region are – no pun intended here – in rather short supply.