Chair of Parliament health committee blames Finance Minister for drug shortages

NEWS 02.04.2021 13:05
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Source: Pixabay/ilustracija

The chair of the Croatian Parliament Committee on Health and Social Policy, MP Renata Sabljar-Dracevac of the opposition Social Democrats, warned on Friday that two cancer patients were reportedly unable to get their therapy on Thursday, blaming this on Finance Minister, Zdravko Maric, and "his attitude towards the healthcare system over the last six years."

“We have a long-running problem that you keep sweeping under the carpet. You yourself demand that invoices be paid, we know your position on debt collecting, which is inhumane and callous, but when it comes to paying invoices for medicines, which our citizens consumed long ago, your position is quite different,” Sabljar-Dracevac said in an unusually stern statement.

She was referring to the government’s ballooning debt to drug suppliers. Although this is a chronic issue in Croatia, during the coronavirus crisis the debts skyrocketed and reached their record-high level of about 6.5 billion kuna (€860 million) in March. Earlier this week, the country’s largest drug supplier decided to suspend deliveries to hospitals and pharmacies.

On Friday, Sabljar-Dracevac called on Minister Maric to pay the health care system’s bills and secure what she referred to as “constitutional right to medical treatment.”

She also warned that although Finance Ministry had recently moved to raise excise taxes, that money was not being directed at health services, but was ending up “who knows where.”

“You are maliciously allowing for the last remnant of the constitutionally guaranteed welfare state to fall apart. You bragged about the budget surplus in 2019 without paying your obligations towards the healthcare system, and this has been going on for years,” she said.

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