Eastern Europe drug market worth $41bn by 2014; but rules complex

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Medicine, Pharmacology

Eastern Europe’s pharmaceutical market is growing at an impressive rate, but the complex regulatory rules being introduced may make it a less attractive proposition that it first appears, according to a new study by Business Insights.

The report reveals that the region’s drug market is expanding by around 10 per cent a year and predicts that it will be worth some $41.4bn (€29.3bn) by 2014, with treatments for cardiovascular disorders generating the biggest sales at around $7.8bn.

Pharmaceutical sales in Romanian leads the field, growing nearly 45 per cent annually in recent years, followed by Slovakia, which saw countrywide drug revenues expand by over 37 per cent between 2006 and 2007.

The report suggests that, in Eastern Europe as a whole, improved access to drugs, particularly branded generics supplied by companies like Novartis through its Sandoz unit, has driven the expansion.

Sanofi Aventis’ Lovenox (enoxaparin) is the region’s current top seller, generating revenues of $152m in 2007. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors used to treat cardiovascular disorders dominate the rest of the market.

Complex regulations

However despite the obvious potential of the market, the authors warn that the situation is changing because “healthcare systems in the region have become increasingly complex​.”

They suggest that: “Governments have begun launching healthcare reforms to reduce costs and new legislation has started to shift decision-making responsibility for prescription drugs from physicians to pharmacies​.

Many new member states have replaced state-controlled healthcare systems with regulated social health insurance systems and several countries have also opened up their health insurance markets to competition from private insurers.”

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