Report Published: "Bulgaria Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q4 2013"

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Tue Oct 08 2013

Bulgaria's healthcare and pharmaceutical markets will continue to represent a relatively uncertain commercial opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers, not least due to frequent changes in leadership. The lack of a stable operating climate will continue to be compounded by popular dissatisfaction and healthcare debts, with such factors combining to weaken demand. Nevertheless, we expect that the pharmaceutical market value will post a steady increase in the coming years due to rising demand for chronic illness treatments.

Full Report Details at

Headline Expenditure Projections

* Pharmaceuticals: BGN2.22bn (US$1.46bn) in 2012 to BGN2.35bn (US$1.59bn) in 2013; +5.5% in local currency terms and +9.0% in US dollar terms. Forecasts broadly in line with Q313 projections.
* Healthcare: BGN5.60bn (US$3.68bn) in 2012 to BGN5.76bn (US$3.91bn) in 2013; +2.8% in local currency terms and +6.1% in US dollar terms. Forecasts broadly in line with Q313 projections.

Risk/Reward Ratings: In Q413, Bulgaria remains ranked ninth out of 20 countries surveyed in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. While Bulgaria's overall Risk and Rewards components are still above the regional average, its Industry Rewards score is less optimistic, on account of downward pressure on pharmaceutical prices.

Key Trends And Developments

* In May 2013, Bulgaria's National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) restricted competition between pharmacies by not setting a deadline for processing prescriptions. The average time for the processing of prescriptions is six minutes at a pharmacy, while the processing of protocols takes on average nine minutes. However, the NHIF does not require pharmacies to meet a certain deadline for procession of prescriptions.

BMI Economic View: Our downgrades to our real GDP forecasts last quarter are looking increasingly likely to be realised as an economic slowdown continues to take hold in Bulgaria. In June 2013, the government announced that even its modest expectations for 1.0% growth were unlikely to be achieved, with Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski stating that 'the estimates that the previous government made about economic growth were a bit sweetened up'.

BMI Political View: The two month-old Bulgarian government - compriosing the centre-left Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and ethnic-Turkish Movements for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) - continues to face the same levels of public protests that plagued its predecessor. It will struggle to address protesters' discontent with recent declines in living standards. However, we do not see any major changes to Bulgaria's generally market-friendly economic policies and pro-EU policy orientation.

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