Music for Medicine: Caracas residents donate needed drugs for CDs and records

Latin America

Residents of the Venezuelan capital have found a new way to get the help they need, despite soaring inflation and critical supply shortages. CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas filed this report from Caracas.

People are exchanging their old medicine for CDs and vinyl records, all to the rhythm of music. It’s a first-of-its-kind event, showing just how much Venezuelans have come to rely on a system of bartering.

Some 2,000 CDs and nearly 4,000 vinyl records were available. Organizers collected them over the last two months, setting up donation points at a bookstore in Caracas.

The medicines get taken to a center that patients can visit to see if the drugs they need have been collected.

According to the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela, the medicine supply has dwindled steadily in recent years, with current stocks 85 percent short of what’s needed. Tthe Federation is also warning that the situation is likely to get worse in the coming months.

There have been protests by doctors, patients and their families demanding a “humanitarian channel” for much-needed medicine to enter the country. Their voices seem to have been heard. President Nicolas Maduro recently set aside $97 million  for the purchase of high-cost medicines.

For now, however, patients will continue to rely on informal channels to provide the drugs they rely on to stay healthy.