BMI View: The National Health Fund and the Agency for Health Technology Assessment will continue to impede the reimbursement of innovative drugs in Poland over the short term, given their current focus on budgetary restraint. Over the longer term, we expect these budgetary restrictions to ease and healthcare spending to accelerate, given our positive economic outlook for Poland. In light of our expectations, Poland will become a more attractive market to multinational drugmakers.
Headline Expenditure Projections
Pharmaceuticals: PLN32.04bn (USD10.15bn) in 2014 to PLN33.39bn (USD8.91bn) in 2015; +4.2% in local currency terms and -12.2% in US dollar terms. Forecast revised downward from last quarter.
Healthcare: PLN111.52bn (USD35.35bn) in 2014 to PLN115.27bn (USD30.78bn) in 2015; +3.4% in local currency terms and -12.9% in US dollar terms. Forecast revised downward from last quarter due to the release of confirmed WHO data.
Poland has a RRI score of 61.5 out of 100, making it 2nd the most attractive pharmaceutical market in Central and Eastern Europe, just behind the Czech Republic (63.2).
Key Trends And Developments
The Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber (NIA) has initiated a protest petition against an alleged rationing of reimbursed drugs by big pharmaceutical firms. The petition has raised concerns over the inactivity of the country's health minister and the government at large, claiming that there has been a lack of decisive action ensuring equitable and uninterrupted access to health and life-saving drugs for all pharmacies and their patients. The petition also claims that the government's inaction has resulted in big pharmaceutical companies effectively controlling the shape and manner of pharmaceutical distribution in the country. The business manoeuvrings undertaken by the firms - and tolerated by the government - has limited the supply of medicines and has led to discrimination against pharmacies and their patients, the petition argues.
The health ministry, in cooperation with the National Health Fund (NFZ), has published a draft update of new additions to the reimbursement list for consultation. The draft included revisions to pricing and reimbursement structures for different drug categories, which are due to enter into effect in May. The health ministry proposed the addition of almost 68 new products to the reimbursement list, all of which are new formulations or dosages of products already reimbursed. At the same time, the health ministry stated it would remove 46 products due to expiry of reimbursement decisions or in response to requests filed by companies.
The lower house of the Polish parliament, Sejm, has approved an amendment to the pharmaceutical law on April 9, restricting parallel drug exports from the country. Under the new law, pharmaceutical wholesalers will have to notify the Main Pharmaceutical Inspectorate (GIF) about planned shipments of medications to foreign markets in advance. The GIF will have the power to reject exports within seven working days of notification if the drugs to be exported are in short supply on the domestic market. Also, an official list of drugs that cannot be exported due to availability issues will be maintained by the Health Ministry. Under the new law, pharmacies will now have to place written orders with wholesalers, and wholesalers ignoring the GIF veto will face financial penalties of about 5% of net annual turnover.
BMI Economic View: Despite recent zloty strength, we believe the National Bank of Poland's rate cutting cycle has finished. Leading indicators attest to the underlying strength of domestic demand, and the central bank has more tolerance for a weaker zloty than it indicates. While inflation remains well below the target range, we think it has bottomed and will continue to rise across the course of 2015.
BMI Political View : Poland's foreign policy influence will wane following the appointment of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, who will focus mainly on domestic issues. However, Poland's fiscal outlook remains solid ahead of the October parliamentary election.