ZAGREB () – Drug dealers in Croatia have reduced drug deliveries by 15 arrears, accusing the government of failing to provide enough funds to the health system.
Croatia plans to achieve a budget deficit below 3.0% of gross domestic product this year in order to remain on track to join the euro currency in 2023.
However, the economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and reconstruction after two devastating earthquakes last year, along with health sector debts, are having a heavy impact on the government’s budget plans.
“Every day the debts of hospitals and pharmacies to wholesalers grow by 20 million kuna and on March 1 exceed six billion kuna. The government has not responded to our warnings … wholesalers are no longer able to fund the state,” a group of drug wholesalers said on Tuesday.
A government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Record debts of the health sector of about 6 billion kuna (950 million USD) amount to about 4.1% of budget revenues planned for this year.
Last month, wholesalers called on the government to settle at least 2.7 billion kuna in hospital and pharmacy debts.
“There are hospitals with payment delays of more than a year. From now on, we only deliver to hospitals with the longest overdue debts as much as they pay us,” said Diana Percac, a representative of the wholesalers’ group.
(1 USD = 6.3099 from)