The government, led by interim Premier Gabriel Oprea, approved on Wednesday, through an emergency ordinance, the procedure through which the Cantacuzino Institute is awarded the status of public institution of strategic interest, a status that will also allow the earmarking of EUR 10 M from the budget reserve fund for the payment of the debts owed by the institute to the state and to suppliers. The money will also cover the institute’s operational expenses this year.
The ordinance also stipulates that the unit will be called “The National Research Institute” and will take over the current institute’s personnel and patrimony.
Premier Victor Ponta announced during the government meeting on June 10 that the government is waiting for the European Commission’s approval in order to offer state aid to the Cantacuzino Institute in the form of wiping off all of its debts.
“The new structure will be called the Cantacuzino National Research Institute and will fully take over the former structure’s personnel and patrimony. Cantacuzino Institute’s structure, activity and specific prerogatives, the maximum number of positions, as well as the sources of its own revenues will be approved through a government decision that will be adopted within 30 days since the publication of this emergency government ordinance. Next week, during the government meeting, we will also approve the government decision on the restructuring of this Institute,” Education Minister Sorin Campeanu stated on Wednesday for TVR. Starting in 2016 the Institute will have the budget of a public institution, Education Minister Sorin Campeanu added.
The Cantacuzino Institute, one of the most highly-appreciated producers of immunology products in the world, started its downward spiral in February 2010, after the National Pharmaceutical Drugs Agency withdrew the permit that allowed the Institute to commercialize intravenous products, including vaccines, since its standard of good production practices had expired. In those conditions, some national immunization programs were frozen for several months and the authorities had to import vaccines.
In October 2014 the Cantacuzino Institute was transferred from the Health Ministry to the Education Ministry.
Cantacuzino Institute employees as well as medical students took part in several protests against the situation the institution found itself in, asking also for the backing and involvement of President Klaus Iohannis in order for the institute to avoid dissolution.
President Klaus Iohannis, who visited the Cantacuzino Institute on May 13, stated that the institution is in a complicated situation that developed in years and emphasized that it has to be saved and that he is determined to “raise this issue everywhere” he believes solutions will be found.