Industry Trend Analysis - Robust Outlook For OTC Medicine Sales But Risks Remain - MAR 2017

BMI View: Poland's OTC medicine market remains one of the most attractive in Europe, with a significant market share and a robust outlook for growth. Planned changes to regulation that will expand the types of medicines on sale in general stores are likely to further boost the outlook for the segment. However, the impending transformation of the healthcare system pose s downside risk to our forecast as prescription medicine affordability increases.

Poland's non-prescription medicine market represents a significant opportunity for drugmakers. Given the current inability of a significant proportion of the population to afford medicines due to the large copayments ( see ' Scrapping Of National Health Fund To Drive Growth Of Drug Sales ' , December 22 2015), the rate of self-medication in the country is high. As such, the over-the-counter (OTC) drug sector accounts for a large proportion of the total market. As one of Europe's largest pharmaceutical markets, Poland's OTC sector is therefore amongst the largest in the region. In 2016, we calculate that the country's OTC market was valued at USD2.4bn; with only Germany, France, Russia, the UK and Italy having larger markets.

We forecast robust growth for OTC medicine sales over the coming years. Indeed, we remain upbeat with regard to the country's pharmaceutical market as a whole given the strength of the regulatory environment and improving access to medicines ( see ' Regulatory Changes Continue To Boost Drugmaker Outlook ' , December 13 2016). Proposed changes to regulation that determines which medicines can be sold in specialised pharmacies and general stores pose a further upside risk to this outlook. We currently forecast the sector to growth at a local currency five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3% between 2017 and 2021. This compares favourably to the European region as a whole.

One Of The Top European OTC Drug Markets
LHS: OTC Drug Sales As % of Total Sales (2016); RHS: OTC Medicine Sales, 2016-2021 CAGR (%, loccur)
Source: BMI

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