Poland to drive OTC Central European market growth in 2016

More information on this topic is presented in the PMR report:

According to the recently published PMR report “OTC market in Central Europe 2016. Comparative analysis and development forecasts for 2016-2021”, the OTC market in the six countries covered by the analysis: Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Slovakia, will exceed €8bn in 2021, driven by growth in Bulgaria and Romania.


Severe flu season strongly affected sales in 2015

In 2015 an interesting phenomenon was observed in Central Europe. In all of the CE countries analysed, with the exception of Poland, the OTC market grew dynamically (above average) because of the intense flu season and relatively low base from 2014. On the contrary, in Poland alone, pharmacy sales of OTC products (drugs and non-drugs) increased by only 2%, which, given the size of the country, affected overall CE market growth. Interestingly, sales of dietary supplements and OTC drugs increased by more than 6% by value in Poland.

In 2016 we expect the opposite situation. Market growth will be driven by Poland (almost 9%) and Romania (almost 6%), but on all CE markets with the exception of Poland the increase will be less substantial than in 2015, chiefly because of the weaker flu season and high base effect.

It seems that the market will gain momentum in the coming years as the macroeconomic situation improves (please see further clarifications in the chapters pertaining to specific countries) and the trend of focusing on OTC sales exhibits an increase, as Rx trade has become ever profitable in all of the countries analysed.


It is worthy of note that the CEE markets are far from saturation. This is why they are growing more rapidly than those in Western Europe, but we should not overlook problems with the reimbursement of drugs in those countries: these cause market players to look for ways in which to offset losses and focus on the OTC market, and also to introduce expensive innovative products.


Bulgaria will have the highest OTC CAGR for 2016-2021

According to our forecasts, the most attractive market in the next three years in the region, among the countries analysed, taking forecast market growth into account, will be again Bulgaria and Romania. There are several reasons for the fact that growth is faster than that of other countries. These include improvement in economic situation and in particular low saturation of the markets.

In the Czech Republic, the OTC market is expected to develop more slowly than elsewhere in CE between 2016 and 2021 as the economic situation is also expected to be difficult and this, along with the quite high level of market saturation.

It is worthy of note that, because of the high base of 2014-2015, the generally difficult situation of the pharmaceutical industry – caused by the claw-back and price cuts which took place in 2015, along with the expected slowdown of the Romanian economy, the forecasts for 2016-2021 are less optimistic than those presented in the last edition for 2015-2020.



More information on this topic is presented in the PMR report:
OTC market in Central Europe 2016. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2016-2021