THERE was no likelihood that pharmaceutical giant Roche would cut off supplies to Spain’s hospitals, the government declared.
Roche has halted deliveries, including cancer drugs, to Greece’s state-run hospitals, some of which have unpaid bills going back three years.
This measure could extend to hospitals in Spain, Italy and Portugal, said Severin Schwan, the Swiss multinational’s president.
Spain had a “significant” economic crisis and debt according to Schwan, who described the situation in some autonomous regions as “acute.”
Spain responded quickly to Schwan’s warning in a Wall Street Journal interview, insisting that there was not the remotest fear of Roche stopping supplies to state hospitals. Patients could put their minds at rest, said the ministry of Health.
“Spain is not Greece,” ministry sources claimed. It bore no resemblance to the virtually bankrupt country in any respect whatsoever, let alone its Health service. The Spanish system was “totally guaranteed.”
Despite official confidence, Spanish hospitals owed €5,191 million to the pharmaceutical industry by March 31 admitted sector specialists, Pharmaindustria. Almost six months later, this now stood at around €5,400 million, with bills settled after an average 14 months.
Castilla y Leon, Spain’s largest autonomous region in land area, was almost two years behind in payments, although some hospitals were more than 900 days in arrears, Roche said. Andalucia,Valencia and Castilla were little better, with an average 600-day delay.
This was well above the legally-allowed time limit, maintained Roche, which said it had been negotiating for months in a bid to avoid shortages.