The German chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA is threatening to give up future research projects worth several tens of millions of euro in Portugal if the country's hospitals do not reimburse their debt, The Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) reported, on 9 July.

"Our investments in research are long term," Fritz Sacher, Merck KGaA's managind director in Portugal, told the FTD. "Mutual trust is essential for this. But the Portuguese state's unwillingness to pay destroys this trust."

Portuguese public hospitals have accumulated a debt of over 1.5 billion euro with pharmaceutical companies. The reform plan imposed by the EU, the IMF and ECB in exchange for financial aid of 78 billion euro in Portugal provides for...

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