2020 Edition


Following a battering by the 2008 global financial crisis and the austerity policies the country was forced to implement, Romania’s economy has rebounded well over the past few years, allowing the oft-overlooked Eastern European country to top the European Union table with enviable economic growth rates of around three to four percent over the past couple of years. However, this cheery picture does not extend to the healthcare industry, which has suffered through nearly two decades of chronic underinvestment as well as a debilitating instability in leadership.

Stakeholders across the entire healthcare spectrum in the country – from government to industry to patient associations to healthcare professionals – have enumerated the various challenges facing the Romanian healthcare ecosystem. From inadequate public investment at half the level of the European average to a crippling and exceptional ‘clawback tax’ imposed on the pharmaceutical industry that effectively compels the industry to subsidize one out of every four patients in the public health system, not to mention the lengthy and unpredictable clinical trial and drug approval timelines that complicate patient access to new innovations, the laundry list of needed fixes to the Romanian healthcare system is long.

The gloomy picture belies the true potential of the Romanian market, which is the seventh- largest country in the European Union in terms of population with nearly 20 million people. Romania is also a rapidly aging country,which will only see healthcare needs continue to  grow in the near future. The strength of the Romanian medical education system is also evident in the diaspora of Romanian doctors and nurses that contribute to the healthcare systems across Europe. Nevertheless, the message from most stakeholders is crystal clear. Romania urgently needs to reform its public healthcare system.

While the wheels of change turn slowly, however, there are still exceptional talents in the country working tirelessly to effect change where they can and to adapt when they cannot. From tips to new general managers on how to respond to the hostile regulatory environment to strategic discussions about the best way to launch a product, from the surprising dynamism of the OTC market segment in Romania to the way general managers manage the hierarchal corporate culture, from case studies of how multinationals optimize patient access to the best examples of successful national programs – the Romania Healthcare and Life Sciences Review 2020 has it all. Whether they are the general managers of innovative or generic companies, legislative leaders or medical specialists, the stories of these enterprising individuals within stand testament to the admirable drive within the country to ensure that patients in Romania receive the best healthcare possible.

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Raed Arafat

Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior

Distinguished members of the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector,

As Secretary of State of the Minster of Internal Affairs and Department Head of the Mobile Emergency, Resuscitation and Discharge Service (SMURD), it is my pleasure to introduce the 2020 report of the Romanian Healthcare and Life Sciences Review. It is a great opportunity for the Romanian healthcare community to demonstrate to the world the progress, opportunities, and initiatives within our ecosystem.

The emergency care in the country crystallizes the power of collaboration between disparate entities, translating into an improvement of current capabilities and providing much needed services to the citizens of this country. The same staunch conviction to provide adequate training and resources in critical services, are slowly being adopted in the broader context of the healthcare ecosystem. The dialogue between public authorities, innovators, medicine producers and the medical science testifies to the strategic nature of the health industries as conduit to transform the national health sector. Healthcare and life sciences is one of the very few sectors of the national economy that can holistically uplift the economic, infrastructural, and social standards of the country via innovations—providing benefits beyond the care of patients.

The Romanian economy is one of the fastest growing in Europe, with a projected growth of 3.8 percent. The increased foreign direct investment as well as international monetary supply through grants and funds, are testament to the confidence of global organizations in its application to further develop the healthcare ecosystem. The wind of change is blowing through the government and it has increasingly given their attention to pressing issues impacting the industry. The government is willing to change but further requires the collaboration of local and international stakeholders in finding solutions to improve internal processes and ensure access to new medicines.

Warm regards,

Dr Raed Arafat

Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior

Department for Emergency Situations

Featured Content
Cover Story
Testing Times

There is no sugar-coating the healthcare environment in Romania. Over the past 30 years, Romania has had 36 ministers of health – the last having resigned in the heat of the coronavirus crisis just 12 days after his investiture – a damning indicator of the shambles in which Romania finds its healthcare system in after decades of chronic underinvestment and policy instability. For the last two decades, the Romanian government has consistently ranked at the bottom of European Union (EU) countries in terms of healthcare expenditure per capita.

Facts & Figures

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2020. Healthcare & Life Sciences Review was produced by Pharmaboardroom.

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical or otherwise including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without prior written consent of PharmaBoardroom. While every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this report, neither PharmaBoardroom nor the authors accept any liabilities for errors and omissions. Opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily those of the authors. All the images belongs to its respective authors.

Report Director: Mariuca Georgescu
Report Coordinator: Lucía Martin de Vidales
Report Assistant: Erik Vos

Senior Editor: Patrick Burton, Karen Xi
Publisher: Diana Viola
Graphic Designer: Miriam León


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