The health system's debts for delivered medicines will again reach a record HRK 5.7 billion at the end of February, just like in October, and since the beginning of the year every fifth hospital has stopped paying and only every fourth medicine has been paid, drug wholesalers warned on Tuesday.
Drug wholesalers can no longer lend to the state, so we are asking for urgent payment of HRK 2 billion for hospital debts, with an additional HRK 700 million for pharmacy debts, Dina Percac told a press conference on the behalf of the association of drug wholesalers at the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP).
Members of that association are claiming over HRK 3.972 billion from hospitals and pharmacies for the period up to 31 January. Compared to December, the debt rose by more than HRK 300 million, or 8.11%.
Due to the resulting illiquidity, over 2,000 jobs are at stake, as is the sustainability of more than 500 companies which keep functioning thanks to the loans they take out, it was said.
“We are calling on the state to deal with this chain of illiquidity and to pay for the delivered medicines. At the beginning of 2018, hospitals owed HRK 2.2 billion and now they owe HRK 4.2 billion, and the payment deadline for pharmacies has been doubled,” Percac said.
She recalled that this situation was happening just three months after a budget revision and the latest HRK 2.4 billion payment at the end of last year.
Debt grew by HRK 300 million in one month
“The debt has reached HRK 5.77 billion, just like in October. In December, there was a record increase in hospital debts, and now the HZZO (Croatian Health Insurance Fund) is late with payments to pharmacies, so the debt rose by HRK 300 million in a month,” she warned.
The president of the management board at the Oktal Pharma company, Ivan Klobucar, stressed that medicines made up 20% of health care spending, while 80% went on everything else.
Healthcare in chaos
Many hospitals have finally admitted that they are not paying for medicines because their limits are too low, he said.
Representatives of drug wholesalers did not want to say which hospitals had the highest debts. Each drug supplier will decide on the measures it will take on its own, it was added.
HUP director general Damir Zoric said that the health system should be reformed, but that those who should reform it were not experiencing any problems in Croatia’s health care.
He said that the situation in health care was chaotic.
“If the debt rises by HRK 300 million, it is clear that something is wrong, only a radical reform can solve the problem,” he said.