“Why can’t a US diabetic patient at risk of losing a foot use a Cuban medication that would reduce that risk by 70%?”

This is a fair question from Pierre M. LaRameé, Executive Director of MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba).

Though President Obama’s decision to re-establish relations with Cuba is controversial, saving lives isn’t. And our decades-long isolation from Cuba means Americans can’t benefit from Cuban innovations that could improve health and save lives in our own country, and vice versa.

This was the focus of MEDICC’s recent briefing on Capitol Hill, where US and Cuban experts reported on Cuban advances that are currently inaccessible to Americans.

Here are some examples of what we’re missing out on:

  • A therapeutic cancer vaccine that is prolonging life for lung cancer patients.
  • A medication that is reducing the risk of foot amputation for diabetics by over 70% in 26 countries.
  • Disaster risk-reduction strategies that have saved lives and property after hurricanes, helping Cuba avoid situations like we saw after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

Head over to MEDICC’s website to learn more about this problem, and the life- (and limb-) saving solutions they propose.