Smuggling networks and investing in the health of Yemenis.. Houthi turns medicine into a curse

English - Sunday 27 November 2022 الساعة 08:23 am
Sana'a, NewsYemen, exclusive:

Medicine in the areas controlled by the Houthis - Iran's arm in Yemen - has turned into a curse rather than a blessing for curing diseases. This is the reality that the people of the areas under the control of this group have lived through over the past years, after they tightened their control over the trade and import of medicines.

What Sana'a, which is under their control, recently witnessed the death of dozens of children suffering from leukemia, as a result of taking a corrupt and expired dose, is only one of these grievances that exposed the reality of the Houthi drug mafia, which is led by prominent leaders.  As one of their biggest sources of wealth since their invasion and coup against power in 2015.

Serious drug deterioration in the Houthi-controlled areas threatens the health and lives of millions of ordinary citizens due to the entry of smuggled, unknown and expired drug shipments through the Houthi-controlled ports, especially the port of Hodeidah, which has become one of the most important ports on which the militias rely to smuggle medicines.

The Houthis' control of the Ministry of Public Health in Sana'a, and the Supreme Authority for Medicines and Medical Supplies, enabled it to a large extent to manage the drug mafia and smuggling networks.  And in organized ways through the approval and approval of documents, to allow the import and import of non-conforming medicines that pose a threat to the lives of patients.  In addition, the current drug policies full of imbalances and loopholes have greatly helped in the occurrence of major health disasters, the latest of which was the mass death of children with leukemia in Sana'a.

A huge bill.. and an alliance for smuggling

 A huge bill for the value of importing medicines was revealed by the Supreme Authority for Medicines under the control of the Houthis in Sana'a, as the value of this bill amounted to about 88 billion riyals annually, which is a semi-official confirmation of the amount of money laundering carried out by the Houthi leaders in terms of medicines.

After tightening their control over the pharmaceutical trade, the Houthis were able to clamp down on many institutions and companies working in the field of importing medicines, and imposed restrictions and conditions on them with the aim of forcing them to close or leave their areas of control, in addition to imposing a lot of levies and money on the arrival of medicines imported through official methods from  Various Yemeni outlets.

Houthi actions against the pharmaceutical sector were systematic, not random.  Where the Houthi militia sought to establish a new network for drug trade in Yemen, synonymous with the official sector, and the network relies on smuggling medicines, bringing them into their areas of control and marketing them in the official and private health sector.

A special report by the Yemeni Organization for Combating Human Trafficking revealed special documents on the Houthi network for smuggling and selling medicines and dumping polluted medicines in local markets.  Which includes 75 people working in smuggling and counterfeiting medicines and selling them for the benefit of private hospitals and pharmacies.

Barter organizations.. medicine in exchange for the rate

 The restriction on imported Yemeni pharmaceutical companies and institutions was also accompanied by a blockade and an emphasis on international organizations that provide free medical aid for many chronic and serious diseases, as the Houthi militia relied on the barter system when accepting medical grants from international and humanitarian organizations, as international medicines do not enter unless they implement a long list of  The most prominent of the demands is that they get a percentage of the medicines and they get sums of money.

Many international and international organizations have reduced the entry of medicines, which greatly affected patients who were dependent on those expensive treatments that they could not afford due to their high prices, which contributed greatly to the development of the Houthi trade and opened a way for them to import varieties of medicines that  It was provided to patients free of charge by these organizations.

A report issued by the Yemeni Organization for Combating Human Trafficking revealed the existence of an alliance between Houthi leaders and drug smugglers to supply the market with various medicines, which explains the Houthis' rejection of medical aid from international organizations.

Houthi leaders run the smuggling network

The tragic death of cancer children in Sana’a, as a result of the corrupt Houthi death potion, exposed the reality of a number of Houthi leaders who control the health and medicine sector in Sana’a in particular, and those involved in facilitating, distributing and giving licenses to enter and sell expired medicine that was given to children inside Kuwait Hospital. 

According to the report of the Yemeni Organization for Combating Human Trafficking, Houthi leaders are investing in medicine, including Taha Al-Mutawakkil, appointed as Minister of Health, Muhammad Al-Ghaili, appointed as Head of the Medicines Authority, Mutahar Al-Marwani, Director of Sana’a Health, a number of other military leaders and a senior official in the office of the group’s leader, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi.  His name is "Abu Muhammad al-Ayani", and the director of the presidential office in Sana'a is Ahmed Hamid, the strong man within the Houthi group, and he provides them with full protection.

The organization revealed the presence of about 71 Houthi figures and leaders accused of trading in smuggled, counterfeit and expired medicines and obtaining imaginary profits at the expense of the lives and health of the Yemeni people, which were included in a black list amid calls for accountability and the imposition of international sanctions on them.

 Systematic smuggling.. under the supervision of a Houthi minister

The Houthi leader, Taha al-Mutawakkil, who was appointed as the Minister of Health in Sana'a, without professional qualifications in this field, led a process of systematic destruction of the health and medicine sector, from the first day he assumed the ministry.  And he worked to eliminate about 150 qualified professional technical staff specialized in all health sectors and replace them with Houthi cadres who do not hold any health qualifications, and "the most qualified of them hold a general secondary certificate."

According to the report of the Yemeni Organization for Combating Human Trafficking.  The documents obtained showed the involvement of the Houthi Minister of Health in cases of corruption and gross neglect of the health sector, covering up the corrupt and not taking any action against them or referring them for investigation despite his knowledge and presenting most of the matters to him, as he is satisfied with working to hide the evidence and punish the complainant in various ways.

According to the report, the Houthi Minister of Health worked to fight companies and official agents and worked to attract and open the way for new suppliers, most of whom are smugglers and those with precedents in counterfeiting and manufacturing counterfeit medicines (Bakr Al-Sabbari, Youssef Yaqoub) and formed a committee of forty people from the new employees he hired, most of whom are not.  They are still contractors without qualifications, and the most qualified of them holds a diploma from Al-Nasser University. He sent them with smugglers and at the expense of smugglers to several countries to visit dozens of factories and companies in China, India and Malaysia, and concluded agreements to import medicine and medical raw materials.

A legal claim to an international decision

 The involvement of the coup militia in smuggling medicines and selling them on the black market, and harming the health of the Yemeni people, is considered a crime against humanity, and requires intensive international investigations in order to find out the facts, especially after the corrupt Houthi dose that killed the children of Kuwait Hospital.

The Yemeni Organization for Combating Human Trafficking called for international pressure to issue a Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Houthi leaders involved in drug smuggling, led by the Minister of Health in the Houthi militia government and senior officials in his ministry involved in trafficking in smuggled, counterfeit and corrupt medicines to finance the war and enrich militia leaders.

In its report, the organization called on the Yemeni government to conduct an urgent investigation into the involvement of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other organizations concerned with the health sector in facilitating the Houthi seizure of humanitarian aid and selling it on the black market and depriving the Yemeni people of their natural right to medicine and treatment.

It also called on the Ministry of Public Health and Population to assume its responsibilities and carry out its role related to monitoring the drug market in Yemen and the import process and granting licenses and facilities to agents of pharmaceutical companies in accordance with the laws in force in all governorates, including those under the control of the Houthis, and to cover the drug needs of the community on an ongoing basis, and to bear full responsibility.