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ECONOMIC BRIEFS

More hospitals may end up without diagnostic materials

Distributors of medical diagnostic materials, who are members of the Club of Contractors of Laboratory Equipment and Diagnostic Material, will no longer supply hospitals that are unable to settle their invoices within six months. This decision was taken at a meeting of the club members on October 29.

During the first week of November, the club compiled a new list of medical facilities that included those hospitals that will receive urgent notices to pay invoices that were payable by the end of April. If the hospitals do not settle these obligations, distribution companies will halt supplies of diagnostic materials. Preliminary information indicates the list could contain 50-60 hospitals, which is approximately the number of hospitals in Slovakia.

About 22 hospitals have already received no supplies of diagnostic materials since August, and this has started to affect their ability to provide medical services. Some hospitals have indicated they can no longer examine blood donors, are unable to perform blood tests on patients and must postpone operations.

The club was launched at the Association of Distributors of Medicines in Slovakia in February 1998 in connection with the critical financing situation in the health care sector. Its goal is to help its members to solve the existing problems. It unites eight companies whose joint share of the Slovak market for diagnostic materials sits at more than 80%.

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