In this study we aim to compare the public perceptions towards informal patient payments in six central and eastern european countries (bulgaria, hungary, lithuania, poland, romania and ukraine). Overall, around 35–60% of the general public in each country has ever made informal payments, though informal cash payments are perceived negatively, mostly as corruption. In-kind gifts are often seen as a token of gratitude. However, significant differences among countries are observed. Despite the public support for the eradication of informal payments, there are population groups who favor their existence and this should be taken into account in policy-making.