Health minister announces talks to tackle €430m debt owed to drug suppliers

NEWS 11.02.2020 18:07
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Talks between government ministries, Croatia's public health fund HZZO, and drug wholesalers have to be launched to solve the problem of the ballooning debt owed by state-run hospitals for delivered drugs, the country's Health Minister, Vili Beros, said on Tuesday. According to drug wholesale companies, the debt now stands at more than 3.3 billion kuna (€430 million).

“The current situation is absolutely untenable… As minister, I am responsible to secure the supply of medicines. We need to talk about a systemic solution, one which will include the finance ministry and the (public) health insurance fund,” Beros said after meeting with drug wholesalers on Tuesday.

Beros, who took the job less than two weeks ago, announced that he would meet with drug wholesalers again next week, and added that there are several options available to solve the problem.

The head of the association of drug wholesalers with the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP), Ivan Klobucar, told state agency Hina that the debt at the end of 2019 was 400 million higher (€54 million) than at the end of 2018.

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In January alone, the total debt for drugs increased by another 200 million kuna (€27 million), and now amounts to nearly 3.3 billion kuna (€443 million), Klobucar told Hina.

Klobucar said that the government should immediately pay at least 600 million kuna (€80 million) of overdue payments, so that the level of debt owed to them would be back to where it had been at the end of 2018.