Medicine Wholesalers Announce Selective Suspension of Drug Deliveries

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 12, 2019 – The coordinating body of pharmaceutical wholesalers at the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) announced on Friday they were beginning a selective suspension of deliveries of drugs and medical supplies to hospitals after their debts had reached 2.6 billion kuna.

Representatives of pharmaceutical wholesalers warned at a press conference that the hospitals’ debt was increasing by 150 million kuna every month and, because the government was ignoring their warnings, they would write to the European Commission.

They stressed that none of the hospitals was paying its obligations within the statutory deadline of 60 days, adding that they had borrowed an additional 1 billion kuna to ensure regular drug supplies to the hospitals.

“We are beginning a selective suspension of drug supplies to individual hospitals, and pharmaceutical wholesalers will do this at their discretion,” the head of the coordinating body, Ivan Klobučar, said.

He said that some of the pharmaceutical wholesalers would take legal action against the hospitals in Dubrovnik, Sisak and Vinkovci, which are over 1,000 days late in paying their debts.

“The promise by Health Minister Milan Kujundžić about the payment of 200 million kuna for the hospitals’ debts has been fulfilled, but the pharmaceutical wholesalers have received only 130 million kuna, which is eight percent of the total debt of 2.6 billion kuna,” Klobučar said, adding that he did know where the remaining 70 million ended up.

The debt is expected to reach 3.6 billion kuna by the end of the year, with an average payment period of 590 days. Klobučar said that five hospitals were over 800 days late in paying their debts, and three were over 1,000 days late.

As a short-term solution, pharmaceutical wholesalers are proposing that 50 percent of the debt, or 1.3 billion kuna, be settled immediately, while as a medium-term solution they are proposing the preparation of an acceptable debt payment schedule to reduce the payment time to the agreed 260 days by the end of the year. They say that the problem of the hospitals’ insolvency and cost-ineffectiveness should not affect drug deliveries because they accounted for barely 20 percent of total costs in the health budget.

The chairman of the governing council of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO), Drago Prgomet, on Friday commented on the announcement by pharmaceutical wholesalers that they would begin a selective suspension of deliveries of drugs and medical supplies to hospitals over their debts.

“Croatia has never been left without drugs, hospitals have never been left without drugs and they will not be left without them now,” Prgomet said in response to questions from the press.

Asked how the hospitals intended to resolve this problem, he said that they would do it as they had done before – by paying their debts. “We are aware of the debts that we have. The debts will be paid off, but there will be no suspension of drug deliveries. The citizens need not worry. The Croatian citizens have never been left without drugs and they will not be left without drugs now or in the future.”

Prgomet said that pharmaceutical wholesalers were making very good profits in Croatia and would not take legal action. Asked if this meant that they were earning enough regardless of the debts owed to them, he said that none of them had failed so far.

More medical news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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