Once touted by the IMS as one of the “fast followers” among the world’s “pharmerging” nations and feted by the international investor community in the wake of EU accession, Romania’s pharmaceutical industry appears resurgent once more after a number of years on the back burner.
In 2014, Romania’s market size increased by a full 6.8 percent to EUR 2.76 billion [USD 3.12 billion] with Romanians purchasing OTC drugs to the tune of some EUR 755 million [USD 853 million] in the final quarter alone, reflecting an 11.8 percent year-on-year rise, according to market research conducted by Cegedim.
“If you calculate the opportunity for market increases in Western Europe, there is frankly not so much scope for selling much more. Yet Romanian pharma, by contrast, offers much more mileage.”
Bogdan Savu – Country Manager, Gerot Lannach.
Meanwhile the country’s newly appointed minister of health has been audacious in radically reshuffling the rules of the game to place public healthcare provision “firmly on a pathway to sustainability.” “A corner has been turned and we are well on the way to establishing the enabling environment for an enduring healthcare system that is viable over the long run and can still accommodate the reimbursement of the latest generation of innovative treatments,” explains Minister Nicolae Bănicioiu.
Such optimism chimes with a national economy enjoying a sharp rebound from the instabilities of the global financial crisis. Indeed, signs of economic health abound. Romania is currently registering an admirable 2.7 percent GDP growth rate, placing it as the sixth best performing economy of the European Union, and saw its FDI ratio leap 45 percent this year. Meanwhile the country’s exceptional record on fiscal consolidation continues to generate acclaim.
What’s more, the overwhelmingly positive economic trajectory shows little sign of abating, with the latest European Commission forecasts predicting four percent year-on-year GDP increases by 2018. “Romania heralds a thriving economy, geographical proximity to Western Europe and a labor cost of only 30 to 40 percent of Berlin’s. When you take into account these underlying fundamentals, you disposable income is on the up and the average income is increasing by around six percent annually,” enthuses Sebastian Metz of AHK, the German Chamber of Commerce.
“Other compelling characteristics constitute the prevalence of certain infectious diseases such as TB where the affliction rate is abnormally high and HIV/AIDS where there is a very specific cohort of patients,” observes BMS country manager, Călin Gălăşeanu.
“If you calculate the opportunity for market increases in Western Europe, there is frankly not so much scope for selling much more. The plateau has already been reached. Yet Romanian pharma, by contrast, offers much more mileage. Additionally, if you take into consideration the fact that per capita consumption here lags at roughly half of neighboring Hungary, then this is clearly an exciting prospect where the ‘boom period’ is still waiting to happen,” concurs Bogdan Savu, country manager of Gerot Lannach.