An unpaid $ 770 million medical bill sets in embarrassed the Turkish government

Turkish medical equipment suppliers are quick to publicly blame the government for what they say is an unpaid bill of approximately Lire 6.5 billion ($ 770 million).

“Public and university hospitals have not paid us in the past 18 months,” Erkin Delikanli, vice president of the Federation of Medical Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers, told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Officials blamed budget constraints, saying payments could take place as early as November, according to Delikanlı. But the federation, an umbrella organization of nine professional associations, plans to release a public statement on September 16.

The quarrel between medical equipment suppliers and the government has been going on for years, but it broke out in the open in 2020 when US Ambassador David Satterfield revealed that the money owed to international companies alone exceeded $ 2.3 billion. threatening Turkey’s access to vital equipment.

Health expenditure is in strong increase since 2018 due to the collapse of the Turkish lira, which has lost more than half of its value, and, more recently, the pandemic.

In an effort to resolve the deadlock, the government has proposed a combination of discounts or “haircuts” for suppliers and long payback periods of up to three years, infuriating companies.

The depreciation of the lira was the main reason for the payment problem, Delikanli said, although the coronavirus “may have changed priorities as well”.

Turkey’s ministries of health, treasury and finance did not respond to phone calls and emails in look for comments.

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