New Market Research Report: Bulgaria Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q2 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Tue Mar 25 2014

Plans to raise health insurance premiums are a stop-gap measure to revive Bulgaria's underfunded healthcare system, and we believe that more drastic measures will be needed over the long term. Political uncertainty will continue to mar any real progress in making the difficult decisions to tackle funding shortages. With an uncertain economic outlook for the medium term, these latent issues will continue to challenge any government in power.

Headline Expenditure Projections

* Pharmaceuticals: BGN2.32bn (US$1.57bn) in 2013 to BGN2.39bn (US$1.55bn) in 2014; +2.8% in local currency terms and -1.1% in US dollar terms. Forecasts slightly lower in relation to Q114 projections, on account of macroeconomic outlook.
* Healthcare: BGN5.769bn (US$3.83bn) in 2013 to BGN5.88bn (US$3.81bn) in 2014; +3.2% in local currency terms and -0.7% in US dollar terms.

Full Report Details at

Risk/Reward Ratings: In Q2 2014, Bulgaria's Risks and Rewards scores stand above the regional average at 55. The scores take into account the challenges for drugmakers operating in Bulgaria, such as the downward pressure on the prices of drugs and the uncertain political outlook, in addition to positive factors, such as the increasing per capita consumption of medicines, albeit from a relatively low base.

Key Trends And Developments

* On Wednesday 29 January 2014, the Bulgarian government voted to raise health insurance premiums by 2% for all employed Bulgarians, raising the proportion of income spent on health insurance to 10%. The taxes will bring in the BGN350mn (US$245mn) needed to shore up the tenuous finances of the Bulgarian healthcare system, following a spate of public protests on the system's parlous state. Doctors protested almost daily in January, as the government failed to pay their salaries for the month. Hoping to diffuse the situation amid widespread political discontent, the government declared that the doctors would be paid immediately following the passage of the law. However, medical workers went on strike throughout Bulgaria, with some demanding cash payments from patients for treatment. In terms of wide-ranging healthcare reforms, we do not expect to see much change in 2014 owing to the tenuous political balance in parliament and other political risks.
* Bulgaria continues to face a brain drain of its medical professionals as visa restrictions on its citizens were lifted throughout Western Europe. This threatens to put further pressure on an already strained healthcare system, which is reeling from years of underfunding.
* The Bulgarian president Rosen Plevneliev cancelled a law that had been introduced to ban parallel exports of pharmaceuticals, after the EU Commission threatened to open proceedings against the country.

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