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Doctors union, Ministry of Health squabble

Doctors and officials at the Ministry of Health are at odds about a timetable for doctors' pay increases. During negotiations with the doctors trade union (LOZ) representatives, Ľubomír Javorský, the Minister of Health, said he never promised to increase doctors' wages in January, 1997. "This year's planned increase of 30-35% definitely will not take place in the first quarter of 1997," Javorský said. However for LOZ, even the proposed 35-percent increase is not sufficient enough, and any deadline other than January or February is unacceptable as well.
In another area of contention, the Ministry of Health and LOZ don't see eye to eye on the state budget for health care or how many doctors there should be in the country.

Doctors and officials at the Ministry of Health are at odds about a timetable for doctors' pay increases. During negotiations with the doctors trade union (LOZ) representatives, Ľubomír Javorský, the Minister of Health, said he never promised to increase doctors' wages in January, 1997. "This year's planned increase of 30-35% definitely will not take place in the first quarter of 1997," Javorský said. However for LOZ, even the proposed 35-percent increase is not sufficient enough, and any deadline other than January or February is unacceptable as well.

In another area of contention, the Ministry of Health and LOZ don't see eye to eye on the state budget for health care or how many doctors there should be in the country.

Javorský is content with the healthcare department's budget, saying it will get 40 billion Sk in 1997, 4 billion Sk more than last year.

Tomaš Barta, LOZ president, questioned the state's commitment since the bulk of the 40 billion Sk will come from insurance fee collection, while the state kicks in only 14.5 billion Sk. Then there is the question of the number of doctors. Javorský said that the number of doctors in Slovakia should be reduced, but Barta cited statistics that Slovakia has 290 doctors per 100,000 inhabitants, which he said places it in the middle of the pack of European Union (EU) countries.

Czechs lead in pharmaceutical sales

According to a statistical survey by the State Institute for Drug Control in Bratislava, Czech companies dominated the Slovak pharmaceutical market in 1995. Results of companies' pharmaceutical sales in Slovakia, ranked by country of origin:

Country - Value in Sk

Czech Republic - 1.55 billion
Slovakia - 889 million
Germany - 759 million
Switzerland - 506 million
Hungary - 300 million
Slovenia - 250 million
Poland - 76 million

Source: Eklektik Communcations

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