Drug wholesaler suspends deliveries to Croatian hospitals

The Medika drug wholesaler as of Tuesday suspended supplying all hospitals with medicines and medical supplies due to a debt of 2.1 billion kuna (€280 million), the president of Medika's management board, Jasminko Herceg, has announced. [Shutterstock/Antonio Batinic]

The Medika drug wholesaler suspended as of Tuesday supplying all hospitals with medicines and medical supplies due to outstanding debt by the government of 2.1 billion kuna (€280 million), the president of Medika’s management board, Jasminko Herceg, has announced.

“During this quarter, we delivered goods valued at about one billion kuna yet we were paid a maximum 100 million kuna,” Herceg told Croatian news agency Hina.

The company has thus decided that it will not supply medicines to hospitals that do not adhere to the legally regulated due payment date of 60 days, which refers to 98% of hospitals in Croatia, he added.

In a statement to the press, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said wholesalers usually unanimously start demanding payment at important dates like Christmas, Easter, or on the date of elections. Croatia will have its local and regional elections this spring.

“We talked about it, the ministers of finance and health will hold a meeting with them and they will be paid certain funds in the coming days,” Plenković added.

However, the president of Medika’s management board said that “to even start resolving the problem, we should have met on Monday to be paid on Wednesday. Health Minister Vili Beroš is not answering his phone but directing us to contact Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić”.

Drug wholesalers, pharmacists and drug producers in the Croatian Employers’ Association warned last week that medical supplies to hospitals could be restricted because of a debt of 6.5 billion kuna (€866 million) for medicines already delivered and because the Croatian Health Insurance Institute had stopped paying its debt to pharmacies. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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