With a geostrategic location and easy access to both Western Europe and the rest of the emerging Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, Poland represents the sixth largest pharma market in the European Union. Having demonstrated steady year-on-year growth, the market, with its strong generics-centred local players, is set to take on an even more important role in CEE as a result of the government’s 2022-2031 Biomedical Sector Development Plan.
The industry anticipates an increase in Poland’s role as a hub in Central and Eastern Europe
Andrzej Balicki, Head of Life Sciences Poland, DLA Piper
The largest market in Central Europe and the sixth largest in the European Union, the pharmaceutical market in Poland has been characterised by steady growth in recent years. In 2021 it was valued at USD 15.6 billion, representing a 12.9 percent year-on-year increase from 2020 and is forecasted to reach a value of USD 23.8 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 8.7 percent in US dollar terms by 2026 and USD 33.3 billion by 2031.
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Generics and Domestic Players
With a well-developed medicines production industry that leans heavily towards generics, the country has attracted large investments in generics from both its strong domestic industry and from multinational pharma companies.
The domestic industry is dominated by a handful of companies, with the ten largest accounting for almost 90 percent of the country’s pharmaceutical distribution market turnover while the three largest companies – Neuca, Pelion and Farmacol – account for 70 percent of the value of pharmaceutical sales to pharmacies. Neuca, founded in 1990 as Torfarm, has been the market leader for the last two years.
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Reforms Set to Encourage Investment
Poland is looking to strengthen its life sciences sector and become an even more important player in Central and Eastern Europe. These ambitions became clear in the Governmental Development Plan for the Biomedical Sector for the years 2022–2031, adopted in mid-2022.
The plan outlines specific goals for the biomedical industry in Poland, including the promotion of innovation through reforms and financing programs to speed up drug commercialisation, and the development of the sector through the creation of an investor friendly ecosystem.
The plan is to be carried out by the Medical Research Agency (MRA), a state agency responsible for the development of research in the field of life sciences that is investing more than USD421.9 million in Poland’s biotechnology sector.
Apart from its mandate to supervise the government’s plan to strengthen innovation, the MRA is also set to support research on the development of new generics and biosimilars, offering grants of USD 31.7 million for research on the domestic production of generic or biosimilar medicines.
“The industry anticipates an increase in Poland’s role as a hub in Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, we will see a shortening of supply chains, an increase in the role of locally or regionally manufactured drugs with an important role for parallel imports within the European Union,” concluded Andrzej Balicki, Head of Life Sciences Poland, DLA Piper, in response to the results of the recent DLA Piper survey of leading pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Poland.