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Foreign Ministry Has Yet to Sell Any of the Ventilators Above Strategic Stock

Hungary Today 2021.02.04.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade hasn’t sold any of the ventilators, according to the Ministry’s response for Transparency International. Hungary is set to sell some 8,000 machines after it had bought twice the amount needed for the worst-case scenario regarding the coronavirus. Meanwhile, nearly HUF 2 billion (EUR 5.6 million) has been spent on favipiravir tablets coming in from the Far East.

The Ministry hasn’t gone into detail, but said that talks were ongoing. It was made public at the end of October that Hungary wants to sell around 8,000 ventilators.

Since government calculations found that the country would have needed at least 8,000 ventilators for the worst-case scenario and since at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak Hungary only had a supply of 2,560, the government set to purchase more. However, it later turned out that in order to make sure that “10,000 would arrive,” a total of 16,863 ventilators were purchased, costing as much as HUF 300 billion (EUR 843 million) in total. On top of that, this price was very high compared to other countries’ purchases, according to experts.

As of the beginning of December, less than 1,000 of these newly-purchased ventilators were delivered to hospitals. On the other hand, they are frequently used in building foreign relations and lately some fifty of them have been donated to Ukraine.

In addition, KMM has now also disclosed the amount it spent on the purchase of favipiravir tablets. As previously reported, 4.8 million favipiravir tablets (that help coronavirus patients recover and relieve symptoms) had arrived to Hungary, 2.8 million from China, and 2 million from Japan. This cost some HUF 1.76 billion (EUR 4.95 million) for KKM.

featured image illustration via Márton Mónus/MTI