By the end of the week, 900 million kuna will be paid to wholesale drug suppliers, whose dissatisfied representatives said on Wednesday they would continue to restrict drug supplies to hospitals over an outstanding debt amounting to 6.5 billion kuna.
Following a meeting at the Health Ministry, wholesale drug suppliers called for the urgent payment of 3.5 billion kuna and a payment plan for the rest of the year.
On Tuesday, the biggest drug wholesaler, Medika, suspended the supply to hospitals across the country over a 2.1 billion kuna debt.
Jasminko Herceg, President of the Management Board at Medika, said his company would not supply hospitals with any drugs until at least Friday, when it would decide on a further course of action, depending on how much money it receives.
Diana Percač, who represents drug wholesalers at the Croatian Employers' Association, said the payment offered by the government was insufficient.
"Unfortunately, that amount is not enough to secure the regular delivery of medicines and medical supplies. Therefore, all wholesalers will continue operating according to their own internal policies, which include restricted deliveries to hospitals," said Percač.
For his part, Health Minister Vili Beroš said that patients were not in danger over the suspended drug supply and that the 900 million kuna payment was a short-term solution. The amount, he said, was what the health budget could afford at the moment.
At the same time, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković also assured that deliveries would continue and that hospitals would not lack the necessary medicines.