With Croatia’s potential accession to the EU gathering pace, Beth Kennedy looks at the implications for pharma.
The growth in overall healthcare expenditure in Croatia is slow and the percentage of GDP is expected to remain the same, but the country’s accession to the EU means that European pharma would have access to cheap products and labour costs. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is set to steadily increase and generic drugs are likely to monopolize the market. Generics companies such as Pilva and Belupo hold large shares in the Croatian market, and will be eligible for moderate expansion. But a treasure chest of opportunities could be opened up in terms of jobs and access to treatment, information and innovation.
There are, however, a few obstacles surrounding Croatia’s position. The country needs to resolve its corruption problems, and the EU’s anti-fraud organisation, OLAF, is set to investigate potential secondary corruption. The EU has also expressed that Croatia should privatise their shipyards, otherwise the “competition” charter of the EU will not be closed on time.
Furthermore, MEPs are asking Croatia to take better care of their refugee returnees. The country must do its best to acquire permanent resident status, improve reconstruction of housing and help encourage the returnees to mix with society.
The important thing to remember is that completion of Croatia’s EU membership will not only benefit the pharmaceutical industry, in terms of low-cost medicines, low-cost exports and imports and the boosting of the economy, but it will also benefit the population of the country, who will have greater access to medicines, better facilities for refugee returnees and a generally, clean bill of health!