Honduran soldiers are taking over public hospitals and medicine storage warehouses to guarantee the supply of drugs to patients after a recent fraud and graft scandal rocked the Social Security Institute.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez says the army will perform an inventory to determine whether there are shortages that must be addressed. It will then identify private providers capable of guaranteeing price, quality and distribution.

Hernandez said Wednesday that the plan will allow, in his words, "disbanding the mafias that have controlled the system of storage, distribution, delivery and acquisition of medicines."

The social security scandal involves alleged embezzlement that cost the institute as much as $120 million. At least some of the money went to finance governing party political campaigns, including Hernandez's.

The case has sparked large protests.

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