Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/07/2014 -- Despite the fact that per capita expenditure on drugs is increasing steadily, Serbia's pharmaceutical market as a whole is still underdeveloped in regional terms. As the country continues its economic convergence with developed Europe, drug consumption is expected to rise. However, financial inefficiencies within the health insurance system compel the National Health Insurance Institution (RZZO) to frequently make changes to coverage and pharmaceutical pricing. The state must seriously consider expanding its pharmaceutical budget to improve care and patient outcomes, especially considering Serbia's ageing population and the burden of chronic diseases associated with the demographic shift. Since 2009, pharmaceutical expenditure has declined in real terms, and lagged GDP growth in nominal terms. While we expect to see real growth in pharmaceutical sales in 2013 and 2014, we note that spending will only recover to 2010 and 2009 levels, respectively. The Serbian pharmaceutical market stays highly pricesensitive. Even though this will limit the market's short-term potential, long-term growth prospects are present given its current trajectory.
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Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: RSD81.38bn (US$930mn) in 2013 to RSD90.46bn (US$1.09bn) in 2014; +11.2% in local currency terms and +18.2% in US dollar terms.
- Healthcare: RSD358.34bn (US$4.07bn) in 2013 to RSD380.99bn (US$4.61bn) in 2014; +6.3% in local currency terms and +13.1% in US dollar terms.
Risk/Reward Rating (RRR): Serbia's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score for Q1 2014 is 49.7 out of 100 (from a previous score of 48.5), making it the 14th most attractive pharmaceutical market in the Emerging Europe region, having climbed two spots in the ranking. The country's overall score has improved slightly this quarter, but remains below the regional average of 51.8.
Key Trends & Developments
In October 2013 the Association of Manufacturers of Innovative Drugs (INOVIA), Serbia's leading association for multinational corporations, supported the initiative of the health ministry and Serbian nonprofit organisation Republic Fund Of Health Insurance (RFZO) to abolish additional control stamps (labelling) on drugs. INOVIA feels that control stamps cause technical difficulties and result in needless additional costs for the drug manufacturers and the government. It also stated that only the electronic identification of drugs, scheduled to be introduced in the EU in 2017, can offer full protection against counterfeit drugs.
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