Cuba has developed a relatively sophisticated pharmaceutical sector, originally to provide medicinal products for her own population and, more recently, to earn hard currency through exports. Cuba has achieved both of these goals despite the US trade embargo, which isolates Cuba from commercial relations with US firms. Cuba is opening its economy to firms from other countries through the use of joint ventures and other forms of cooperation. US firms are unable to avail themselves of these opportunities, and the opportunities are thus being lost. In the case of pharmaceuticals, the Cubans recognize that they need assistance, particularly in the areas of marketing and packaging. Allowing the participation of US firms in the Cuban pharmaceutical industry could enhance the possibility of improving worldwide health care.