PMR Pharma & Healthcare Insight: Central Europe
According to a survey carried out by PPM Factum, only 15% of Czechs have not bought any Rx or OTC products at a pharmacy in the last 24 months.
In Poland and Bulgaria pharmacy chains with five or more outlets account for about one-third of the pharmacy market in terms of store numbers and generate about 50% of total pharmacy sales.
In 2014, the sales of dietary supplements through pharmacies, non-pharmacy outlets and online in Poland, reported a fairly low growth rate, according to the latest PMR report Dietary supplements market in Poland 2015. Development forecasts for 2015-2020. This refers particularly to the pharmacy market.
In 2014 and the first two months of 2015 Regina Maria and MedLife were the most visible companies in the media in terms of press references.
The Bulgarian National Assembly has approved amendments to the Health Insurance Act at the second reading. The most significant change involves the division of medical services into two packages - basic and supplementary.
Pharmaceutical companies were the leading spenders in terms of advertising budgets in Q1 2015, with BGN 54.7m (€28m) gross spent on advertising (TV and newspapers), a 20% year-on-year increase, according to data provided by market research firm GARB. The pharmaceutical industry accounted for 23% gross of overall advertising spending on these media.
Pharmaceutical companies spent BGN 51.5m (€26m) on television advertisements, a 21% year-on-year increase. The industry led the field in the ranking of gross TV advertising spending, accounting for 24%. Reckitt Benckiser, which spent BGN 4m (€2.1m), a 19% year-on-year reduction, was the leading pharmaceutical advertiser among the 15 most prominent advertisers. The other pharmaceutical concern in the top 15 was Natur Product, which spent BGN 3.4m (€1.7m), a 34% year-on-year increase.
Sopharma, a Bulgaria drug manufacturer, has transferred its team of 14 OTC marketing experts to Sopharma Trading, its drug wholesale unit. According to the company, the move is intended to ensure synergies and to optimise the management of marketing on the domestic market, providing a better return on investment.
The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in Bulgaria spent BGN 104.8m (53.6m) on drug reimbursement in March and April 2015. Most of its resources were spent on alimentary tract and metabolism drugs in each of the two months.
Tchaikapharma High Quality Medicines has said that its net profits increased by 10% in 2014 to BGN 6.8m (€3.5m), an increase in comparison with BGN 6.2m (€3.2m) a year earlier. Its gross profit stood at BGN 7.6m (€3.9m).
The Bulgarian National Assembly has approved amendments to the Health Insurance Act at the second reading. The most significant change involves the division of medical services into two packages - basic and supplementary. The basic package will include socially significant diseases, which account for 90% of the mortality rate in Bulgaria. It will also cover maternity and paediatric healthcare. The list of such diseases it to be presented for public debate by October 2015.
Tokuda General Hospital remained the largest private hospital in Bulgaria in terms of revenue in 2014. Last year, it had over 35,000 patients in its inpatient unit and around 350,600 in the outpatient medical centre. Tokuda has 37 wards and 600 beds and provides care under 249 clinical pathways (of 311 possible clinical pathways in the country).
The number of inpatient healthcare establishments in Bulgaria stood at 349, with 51,505 beds, at the end of 2014, according to data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI).
Out-of-pocket payments at hospitals in Bulgaria are estimated to be between BGN 300m (€153m) and BGN 450m (€230m) per year, according to figures announced by Jivko Ivanov, of the financial consultancy Simbula, at the South-east Europe Economic Forum held in Sofia in mid-June. These figures take regulated fees at hospitals and official donations into account, but the purchase of drugs and consumables by patients, and unregulated cash payments, fall outside the scope of the analysis.
Associate Professor Assena Stoimenova, the director of the Bulgarian Drug Agency (BDA), has said, at a discussion entitled “The Patient's Rights”, held at the National Assembly, that insulin is not available at pharmacies in 59 Bulgarian municipalities, whereas cancer drugs are not available at pharmacies in 80 municipalities.
The health minister, Dr Petar Moskov, has said that Bulgaria will open eight emergency centres for the treatment of strokes by the end of the year.
Bulgaria's health minister, Dr Petar Moskov, has told journalists that Turkey will provide Bulgaria with 100,000 five-valent vaccines for the vaccination of infants until the end of the year. In exchange, according to the minister, Bulgaria will send Turkey bCG vaccines produced in the country, but he did not specify the exact number of vaccines to be provided by Bulgaria.
The Czech Association of Public Health Insurance Providers released an updated version of its positive list of drugs recommended for prescription effective from 1 July through 31 December 2015.
The Czech largest public health insurance provider, Vseobecna Zdravotni Pojistovna (VZP), spent CZK 302.4m (€11.1m) in 2014 on the treatment of 20 most costly clients, compared with CZK 286.4m (€10.5m) in 2013 and CZK 281.2m (€10.3m) in 2012.
The sale of homeopathic medicines is breaking records in the Czech Republic, with distributors having sold CZK 13.1m (€480,000) worth of products in April 2015, up by 43.5% year over year, news news portal E15 reported after analytical Sprinx Systems.
Over 50% of respondents or their families and friends have been exposed to some form of improper combination of drugs, with 20% of the respondents having been personally affected by health complications resulting from improper drug interactions at least once in their lives, according to a survey carried out by an analytical company Stem/Mark and commissioned by CompuGroup Medical.
The Czech Ministry of Health will ask for another CZK 3bn (€110m) from the state budget for next year so it could cover all necessary expenses and investments, news agency CTK reported.
An amendment to the Hungarian healthcare law, which was submitted to parliament in June 2015, would, if adopted, ensure public funding for the privatisation of GP surgeries through the budget of the National Health Insurance Fund. In accordance with the draft law, doctors would be allowed to fund the es-tablishment of private GP offices from money received from the public healthcare budget (there is a set amount per patient).
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz on 15 June announced the appointment of Prof Marian Zembala, a renowned heart surgeon, to the post of health minister. Prof Zembala is director of the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases (SCCS) in Zabrze, the national consultant in heart surgery, and president-elect of the European Society for Cardiac and Vascular Surgery. He was also chairman of the scientific advisory board to the health minister until his appointment. Prof Zembala replaces Bartosz Arlukowicz, who tendered his resignation on 10 June.
The Health Ministry on 18 June unveiled for consultation a draft update of the list of reimbursed medicines, due to take effect on 1 July. 79 products are to be added to the pharmacy list, including a medicine containing icatibant 1 EAN code; flat fee) and a medicine containing adrenalin (1 EAN code; 50% co-payment), which will improve the options available to patients suffering from hereditary angioedema and for those at risk of acute allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), respectively.
Pharmacy sales amounted to PLN 2.35bn (€567m) in May 2015, which represents an increase of 2.9% y-o-y, according to data from PharmaExpert. In the first five months of 2015 pharmacy sales grew by 7.7% y-o-y. PharmaExpert projects that in 2015 as a whole the pharmacy market will grow by 5.4% to just over PLN 30bn (€7.24bn). Drug reimbursement is forecast to reach PLN 8bn (€1.93bn), up 5% over 2014.
The Voivodship Pharmaceutical Inspector WIF) in Lodzkie has launched an exploratory probe as to a possible breach of anti-concentration laws by a pharmacy chain that owns more than 90 pharmacies in the region, Elzbieta Piotrowska-Rutkowska, president of the Lodzkie Regional Pharmaceutical Chamber (OIA), revealed in an interview with rynekaptek.pl.
The US pharmaceutical company Mylan has is now one of the 20 leading players on the Romanian market after acquiring the arena of non-US developed markets and the branded generics business of Abbott Laboratories. Mylan announced the completion of the transaction in February 2015. According to the law firm Musat & Asociatii, which provided legal advice on the transaction on the Romanian market, prior to this transaction the US company had not been represented locally. Mylan now manages a portfolio of around 1,400 medicines, covering all therapeutic areas.
The US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has announced Attila Fejer as the general manager of its Romanian division, replacing Camilla Shen. The latter has been Eli Lilly Romania's general manager since February 2014. Attila Fejer has been working for Eli Lilly for ten years, as head of its biomedical and oncologic units, and as sales manager in various fields.
Explicit commercials for medicines will be banned from radio and television programmes, in accordance with a draft law proposed by the Romanian senator Vegh Alexandru, who represents the UDMR (Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania). Non-explicit commercials will be permitted only for OTC drugs, but materials would still require the approval of the National Drug and Medical Devices Agency (ANMDM).
The Romanian drug manufacturer Europharm Brasov, which is owned by the UK group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), registered sales of RON 426m (almost €96m) in 2014, a 14% year-on-year reduction, as the plant is due to be closed this year. The factory employed 213 people in 2014 and made a RON 9m (€2m) loss.
Mediplus Exim and Sensiblu, which belong to the Romanian pharmaceutical group A&D Pharma, experienced a reduction in sales in 2014, but a significant improvement in profitability.
Remus Borza, the company's Romanian president, has announced that the Polisano healthcare group has signed a transaction pertaining to the sale of 25% of its shares to a private equity fund and could be listed on the stock exchange within 18-24 months. The investment fund paid €30m for the stake, but it will go public only in about two months' time.
Slovak patients spent over €147m on over-the-counter medicines last year, which comes to an average of €27.0 per citizen, Sme daily reported.
Spending on OTC drugs increased by around €700,000 compared with 2013, even though the number of acquired drug packages dropped by 2.3 million.
Slovakia's eHealth project, devoted to the digitalisation of the country's healthcare system, entered the final testing phase, with a trial run expected to be launched in the autumn 2015, news agency TASR reported. The launch of the eHealth system, which has cost €47m to date, is scheduled for 2017.
A single public health insurance provider, which has been a flagship project of the current Slovak government, will not be implemented during this cabinet term, but Prime Minister Robert Fico still supports this project , news agency Hospodarske Noviny daily reported.
Slovakia's public health insurance provider Vseobecna Zdravotna Poistovna (VsZP) will return €1.07m to almost 31,430 of its policyholders, whose Q1 2015 co-payments on reimbursed medicines exceeded financial limits set in the Slovak law for these groups of population, news agency TASR reported.
The latest and most modern type of insulin pump has been included in the list of categorised medical devices and will be fully reimbursed by Slovak public health insurance providers as of 1 July, news portal MediWeb reported.
Slovak state hospitals control more laboratories than private companies, but despite this fact their share in the yearly turnover in this particular segment is lower than that of privately owned laboratories, Sme daily reported, citing the Health Policy Institute (HPI).
The Slovak Ministry of Defence circumvented the country's law last year by trying to purchase hepatitis, encephalitis, typhus and meningitis vaccines for soldiers on foreign missions without organising a relevant tender, according to local daily Sme. The Ministry contacted three companies, namely Pharmagen, Transmedic Slovakia and G-Medical, without providing information on how these firms were selected. The orders were eventually awarded to Pharmagen, which gained an order worth 345,000, and Transmedic Slovakia obtaining an order worth €374,000.
Slovakia is a country with the highest incidence of colorectal cancer among male patients globally, news agency TASR reported, citing the country's National Oncology Institute.
The total of 373 cases of occupational diseases were registered in Slovakia in 2014, up by 72 or 23.9% compared with 2013, the country's National Health Information Centre said.