Whilst the latest European Commission 2018 economic growth forecast for the EU stands at 2.3%, a large group of Eastern European countries clearly outpaces its European peers. Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria lead the pack as shown on the chart below.
Growth in the above CEE countries is forecast to remain robust throughout 2018 and has a positive impact on healthcare and pharmaceutical spending as well as long term investment prospects in the region.Romania
The pharmaceutical industry experts expect the market in Romania to reach record sales this year.
According to Cegedim, in the first quarter of 2018, the sales of pharmaceutical products in Romania amounted to EUR 815mn, up by 17.3% in value terms compared to the same period of 2017. In volume, the market grew by 6.6%, including 6.6% increase in retail sales and 7.2% surge in sales to hospitals. The sales of prescription drugs in the first quarter of 2018 increased by 6.9% compared to 6.2% growth for OTC products.
In the 12 months ended March 31 2018, the pharmaceutical market in Romania reached EUR 3.15 billion, up 11.8% over the previous year. Sales of prescription drugs via pharmacies were valued at EUR 2.1 billion, up 10.6% year-on-year. The OTC market amounted to EUR 686 million, up 16.5%, and pharmaceutical product sales to hospitals totalled EUR 368 million, up 10.4%.
As far as top pharmaceutical manufacturer players in Romania are concerned, US group AbbVie was a leading player in terms of sales in the last 12 months, with EUR 275 million, followed by French group Sanofi – EUR 217 million and French group Servier – EUR 140 million.
Strong economic growth in Slovenia continues to boost the confidence of international pharmaceutical companies and distributors as they expand their investments in the country.
The Swiss multinational player Novartis is seeking to become a leading prescription drugs company in Slovenia. Its CEO Vas Narasimhan says it will continue to look to expand its investments as it is committed to its long-term presence in the country.
He stressed that ever since acquiring Lek in 2002 "we've invested more than two billion dollars in Slovenia", stressing they were building a new biologics manufacturing facility and some additional lines in Mengeš. Apart from Lek, Novartis has another two companies in Slovenia, Novartis Pharma Services and Sandoz.
Narasimhan said the company was very committed to its presence in the country and sees Slovenia as an attractive investment destination.
Another example of the long term investment in Slovenian market is the global logistics company Kuehne+Nagel which has acquired a certification for pharmaceutical logistics in Slovenia as a key step for the launch of a EUR 50m logistic complex near Ljubljana.
The complex will be Kuehne + Nagel's biggest pharma warehouse and will serve as a major distribution centre for Novartis in Slovenia and broader Central Eastern European region.