Bulgarian Finance Minister Speaks Up For Discredited Healthcare OfficialsDomestic | February 22, 2012, Wednesday // 12:37| views
Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has defended the Director of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Deputy Health Minister as good professionals. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has defended the scandal embroiled Director of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Deputy Health Minister by saying that both had been good at their jobs but had fallen prey to political populism.
In an interview for Wednesday's morning broadcast of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Djankov noted that the turmoil had been stirred by political speculations and a war between media groups.
He defended Deputy Health Minister Gergana Pavlova, who was dismissed on Tuesday, by pointing out that she had achieved a lot while in office.
Djankov noted that Pavlova's efforts had resulted in a wider access to drugs reimbursed by the NHIF and an improved distribution of pharmaceuticals among hospital which had previously been in the habit of overstocking.
The Finance Minister assured that Pavlova had never worked for local drug maker Sopharma and had not lobbied for the company's interests.
Commenting on the investigation launched by the European Commission into the local pharmaceutical market on suspicions of unauthorized state aid, Djankov asserted that Bulgaria was not facing sanctions.
The Finance Minister explained that the state had never subsidized Sopharma and the procedures in question had been carried out through public procurement.
He went on to side with the proposal of Health Minister Stefan Konstantinov for a drug pricing audit to dispell allegations of irregularities on the local market.
Regarding the bonus scandal which triggered the resignation of NHIF Director Neli Nesheva, he specified that she had had the right to award bonuses of up to 25% of the institution's revenues.
Djankov emphasized, however, that the financial incentives had to be distributed in a transparent and just manner.
The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that the bonus payments were a good instrument for stimulating public officials with key responsibilities.
He concluded by urging a fast-track adoption of the Civil Servant Act, which he said had been submitted to Parliament back in November 2011 and was expected to make payments in the state administration transparent.