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Information From the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa

Dear Donor,

On behalf of Cubans, we appreciate very much your intention to help our people through humanitarian donations.

In Cuba, we have been making some changes in our procedures and regulations related to donations, and it is very important that you kindly fulfill some requirements so that we could be part of this process organized in our country.

In this regard, we have prepared a paper explaining the procedures to be followed and we would like you to cooperate with us to be able to reach our goal.

Yours sincerely,

Antonio Castañón

Cristina Ramos

Consejero Económico - Economic Councillor

Agregada Económica - Economic Attaché

Oficina Económica - Economic Office

Oficina Económica - Economic Office

eMail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

eMail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Embajada de Cuba en Canadá - Embassy of Cuba in Canada

Teléfono - Phone: (613) 563-0141 Ext.: 244

Fax: (613) 563-0068

Those people interested on sending donations to Cuba, should get in contact with this Economic Office, which will be in charge of the relevant proceedings through the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation, hereinafter called MINVEC, and the Executive Company of Donations, hereinafter called EMED.

For the shipment of donations to Cuba, an Import Permit (IP) is required.

In order to request an IP it is necessary to receive from the donor the following information:



Necessary Information for Import Permit Request

  • Name of the Donor (Organization and person in charge)

    • Address

    • Telephones, fax, email

  • Shipper in Origin (Organization and person in charge)

    • Address

    • Telephones, fax, email

  • Port or Airport of loading

  • Dimensions of the loading, weight, volume.

  • In case of maritime cargo: Include amount and dimension of containers.

  • List of donation items: Amount of bulks, description, quantity, units and value detailed per Item.

  • Beneficiary of the donation (Organization and person in charge)

    • Address

    • Telephones, fax, e-mail

  • Organization that assumes the freight’s cost from the place of origin to the place of delivery. In case of maritime cargo, also include the THC in the port.

At the same time, the beneficiary in Cuba will provide the necessary information and documentation to the EMED/MINVEC to obtain the proper references and fulfill the necessary requirements for the elaboration of the Import Permit Request (IPR).

If the IPR is accepted and approved, the EMED issues the IP and the Economic Office (EO) is properly informed.

Afterwards, the EO contacts the donor to inform about the IP and the relevant arrangements are made with CUBANA Airline in the case of air shipments and Cargomax International in the case of maritime shipments.

Regarding any interest on specific donations in cash, they will have exceptional character and must be made in close coordination with this Economic Office and the beneficiary in Cuba. These donations can not be done without previous coordination.


  • Once the donation arrives into Cuba, it is subject to the custom routine procedure, and it is important that the documents supporting the shipment are in agreement with the information provided by the donor in the IPR.

  • In Cuba, all Donations are subject to control. This control will be exerted at the following levels: self control exerted by the beneficiary, governmental administrative institutions, social and mass organizations, associations, foundations, inspections exerted by EMED, MINVEC, ICAP as well as supervisions and audits carried out by the Ministry of Audit and Control.

  • Please note that Pentium III previous generation computers are not authorized for being considered old technology and there are no spare parts available for repairing them in Cuba.

  • This office needs to consult with Cuban authorities and it takes time. This is not a fast process.

  • CUBANA airline flights to Cuba from Toronto and Montreal. CUBANA can provide a beneficial price upon previous arrangement with us.

  • If you are interested in donating medicines and medical and laboratory equipment, you should read Appendix 1 and 2 attached to this document.

Appendix 1: Medicines

Sanitary Control Rules for donations of medicines to be used by humans.

The Sanitary Control of donations is the mechanism adopted by the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba (MINSAP) to avoid importing donated medicines of doubtful quality and utility, which use could represent a health risk for our population.

Basic principles and guidelines concerning donations of medicines to be used by humans.

The donations of medicines should be based on four basic principles which are the following:

  • Maximum benefit for the country

  • Respect for the intention, necessity and authority of the Cuban institutions receiving the donations.

  • Identical quality Standard for everybody (donating country and Cuba)

  • There should be effective communication between the donors and MINSAP.

In order to achieve the fulfillment of these four basic principles above mentioned it is necessary to adopt the norms described below:

  • All donations of medicines should be base on the needs expressed by MINSAP and should not be sent without previous approval and acceptance.

  • Medicines should come from a reliable source and adjust to the quality standard of the donating country.

  • They should not include drugs already prescribed to other patients (used) and later returned back to a pharmacy as a sample, neither being free samples for health professionals.

  • At the moment of their arrival into Cuba, all donated medicines s hould have an expiry date of at least one year as minimum. In all cases, the donor should previously notify to the recipient the arrival date and the expiration date of the medicines.

  • Exceptionally, the competent authorities could accept expiration periods of less than one year in the following cases:

    • In those cases of donation from health institutions, providing that the management of those institutions declare that they are aware of the expiration date of the drugs and that the quantity and spam of life allows for its use before the expiration date.

    • In those cases of medicines of human use with life spam of less than two years in which cases should remain at least one third of its life spam.

    • Medicines should be properly labeled preferably in Spanish or in a language that health professionals and specialized staff could understand easily.

  • Do not execute the dispatch. The release of the donated medicines to be used by humans is not authorized when the recipient lacks the relevant Import Certificate approved by CECMED.

  • To request the Import Certificate of Medicines to CECMED, donors should provide the recipient of all the donations of drugs in project, ready to be shipped or in transit to our country, the following information:

    • Name of the medicines.

    • Generic name and active principle.

    • Strength, power and /or concentration of the active principle.

    • Name of the manufacturer.

    • Lot number.

    • Expiry date.

    • Storage condition.

    • Quantity or capacity of the container (bottle).

  • Whenever possible the medicines to be donated should be sent in the biggest packing format (ready to be dispensed to the public) available and also in format for hospital use.

  • All the medicines should be packed in compliance with the international rules for transport and be accompanied by a detailed packing list in which should be specified the content of each numbered box with the indication of the Common international denomination, the pharmaceutical form, the quantity, the Lot number, the expiry date, volume, weight and any special condition for storage. The weight of any individual box should not be exceed 50 kg. In those boxes containing drugs should not be a different type of item.

  • It is recommended that the declared value of a donation of medicines of human use should be base on the wholesale price of its generic equivalent at the local market or if that info is not available on the wholesale price of its generic equivalent on the international market.

  • It is prohibited the import of donations of the following products:

    • Any blood related product.

    • Therapeutic antisera or for diagnostic purposes.

    • Narcotics, psychotropics or any substance with similar effects.

    • Medicines of human use of animal origin or with components capable of introducing animal diseases.

Appendix 2: Medical and Laboratory Equipment


  • Medical and Laboratory equipments for donation should not be more than 10 years old and they have to be in good shape.

  • The information for the installation, exploitation and service, and a manual for spare parts, has to be provided.

  • Donation of medical and laboratory equipment that require consumable items for a stable functioning require previous consultation on the possibility of obtaining the consumable items systematically.

  • In cases where an installation process is considered to be difficult (X Ray, Computerized Axial Tomography, Radiation Therapy etc.), it is necessary that Cuban technicians get involved in the disassembling and reinstallation processes, being responsible for them from the very beginning. Training should be provided by the donor if necessary.

  • Equipment that requires specific tools for installation and maintenance, such as computers and software, should be received with these components or accessories.

  • Spare parts should be provided if possible.

  • Due to the diversity and complexity of the laboratory and medical equipment, MINSAP should analyze each and every case previous to the acceptance of the donation. MINSAP will consult technological issues with specialists from electro-medicine institute prior to the acceptance or not of the donation.

Necessary Information Required to Consult MINSAP About Donation of Medical Equipment

  1. Description of the equipment

    • Type

    • Brand

    • Model

    • Years of use

    • Voltage and consumption

    • Frequency

  2. Literature

      Technical Documentation Yes No
      Operating Manual
      Technical Services Manual
      Electrical Diagrams
      Installation Plans
      Historical-Technical File of the equipment

  3. Technical conditions

    • If working or not

    • If not, reasons, time of being unplugged

    • If it was disassembled with the idea of reinstallation

    • Time of storage

  4. Insurance

    • Consumable materials

    • Accessories and spare parts

    • Supplier


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