Greek hospitals will soon start experiencing shortages of consumable medical supplies as, with every day that banks stay shut and capital controls remain in place, the reserves of their suppliers are dwindling and the latter cannot import due to the restrictions currently in place.
A key problem is with pharmaceutical procurement companies which are increasingly refusing to give goods on credit, even to large Athens hospitals, many of which are looking for new suppliers as a result. “Whatever supplies we have at the moment we are giving to the hospitals,” the head of the union representing pharmaceutical suppliers, Pavlos Arnaoutis, told Kathimerini.
“The question is what happens when those supplies finish.” He added that the new crisis is compounding a situation that was already tough. “We used to have two or three months’ worth of stock. Now we don’t know if that will last us a month.”
According to Arnaoutis, the legislative decree that imposed the capital controls stipulates that a committee of the State Audit Council can approve transactions for imports but it remains unclear whether this applies for consumable goods such as bandages, gloves and syringes that hospitals need on a daily basis.
Pharmacies are also starting to witness supply problems but the union representing their owners said the impact of capital controls will not be felt for another 10 days.