BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's health minister resigned Monday amid public outrage over the use of sub-standard disinfectants in dozens of hospitals.
Patriciu Achimas-Cadariu stepped down after authorities announced an investigation into how the disinfectants were used at 50 hospitals.
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos accepted his resignation and announced he would take on the job as interim health minister.
He said he wanted to increase security in the health sector, tackle infections that patients contract in hospitals and carry out administrative reforms in the health system.
Authorities on Saturday conducted searches at hospitals and the offices of drug company Hexi Pharma, which supplied dozens of hospitals with the disinfectants for use on surfaces and hands, according to media reports. Hexi Pharma has said it's cooperating with the investigation.
Hexi Pharma spokeswoman Loredana Albu said production had been halted pending the inquiry, adding the public would soon find out the company's products were "the best on the market."
"From our point of view, patients were safe," she said after police took away documents and samples from 25 hospitals, where tests revealed there were problems with the disinfectants. Media reports said the disinfectant was diluted.
About 500 people protested Friday in Bucharest over the latest scandal to hit the underfunded health care system. Thousands of medics emigrate annually, and bribery and informal payments are rife in the system.