“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”   Sigmund Freud

I almost feel sorry for The Miami Herald’s reporter Mimi Whitefield that has been assigned with the task of selling everything and anything from Cuba to the local readers. Whether she truly believes the falsehoods that she writes about or not is impossible to ascertain, but even if the content of her articles deserve an F, her effort rates an A. Her latest lengthy first page article, attempts to convince us that our country could benefit from drugs and medicines developed by scientists in Cuba. 

The few that she promotes in the piece are designed to combat chronic illness like Diabetes or lethal like Cancer.  Her attempts on proving their worth are tempered by cute premises like “potential” and “promising”, which in fact give the treatments the same value as any “false cures” being promoted by scam artists. There is no question that Cuba has excellent scientists and medical experts.  The fact that the country is run by despots don’t deny the possibility of having available intelligent and resourceful experts in any given field.  

In fact, it is reasonable to assume that the development of drugs and medicines exist, some with unique capabilities.  What is a pure fantasy is that any of these accomplishments are unmatched in our country and/or would be an improvement on what we already offer.  Even if poor Mimi tries to make the point that politics are the reason for the lack of our interest, the truth is that selling new “medical benefits” in the USA is like selling refrigerators to Eskimos.  

The only reason for Mimi’s and The Herald’s promotion in the first page article is to try to open a door for the Castro’s’ and Crony’s enrichment, and nothing else. Pharmaceutical products are extremely expensive to produce, but have a lucrative market.  It takes many failed trials to develop one that is effective. In the latest study a marketable drug’s cost in this country is $1.4 billion, which results in a doubling in profits after 20 years.  Of course, this cost is much lower in tyrannical countries like Cuba with no regulations or human rights or other nations that mainly buy and copy our final products saving all the research monies and produce them in poorly supervised labs thus affording to sell cheaply.

In Cuba, the paradox is that the fortune expended in these efforts is taken from the population’s medical care. Ordinary medicines in that country are hard to find by most people and the much touted medical care, with the exception of tourists and the elite, is so bad, that it is by all measures inhumane.  The other fact that Mimi and The Herald fail to tell us, is that the profits from the vaccines and drugs exported go directly to the rulers not to improve the quality of life for the people.  It is a shame that with many problems facing us in 2018, our paper uses their first page and Mimi to continue trying to sell us Cuban “snake oil”. Charlatans are not news!

Fernando J. Milanes, MD