Pharmacists offer potential platform for success for dietary supplements in Poland

According to market research company PMR Ltd., one way of further improving the health of the Polish dietary supplements market, which expanded by 33% in 2006, would be to foster better links between pharmacists and wholesalers. PMR estimates that the market is currently worth over PLN 1bn and forecasts market growth of 25% for 2007.

Better communication with pharmacists seen as a key marketing objective
According to research carried out for a recent PMR report entitled “The Dietary Supplements Market in Poland in 2007, "The Prospects for Growth”, companies active in the sector are nowadays primarily concerned about external barriers to growth and believe that the solutions to these obstacles may lie beyond their own capabilities. In interviews conducted for the survey, the respondents could think of few possible steps that they themselves could undertake to improve their present market situation.

Moreover, a number of the respondents claim that wholesalers and pharmacists remain rather wary of dietary supplements and gave a number of possible reasons for such distrust, including insufficient knowledge about their products. At the same time, only 12% of the surveyed companies were convinced that growth could be stimulated by marketing campaigns aimed at providing more information about supplements.

According to PMR, one possible recipe for growth in light of these findings would be for distributors to exploit the largest channel used to distribute their products – pharmacies. For example, they could work to improve links with pharmacists and wholesalers and focus on educating the latter in the quality and safety of their products and dietary supplements. The potential dividends to be gained from such an approach are borne out by the performance of those firms that have already established partnerships with pharmacists.

Red tape must be cut for market to flourish
Representatives of dietary supplement specialists operating in Poland claim that the key to invigorating sales in the coming years is to reform the norms regulating their trade. More specifically, the respondents mentioned the need for more transparent and clear-cut legal standards and guidelines for market players (not only manufacturers, importers and distributors, but also government offices). If the regulations were made clearer, they argue, the interests of all market players would receive equal protection and all cases (e.g. explanatory proceedings after the GIS has been notified) would be heard and processed according to the same criteria applied to all players.

Although 18% of the firms in the survey referred to the long and cumbersome GIS product notification process as the main obstacle to their operations, relatively few of them said that simplifying the existing procedure was essential for growth. Most companies tend to think that legislative improvements will be enough on their own to reduce the bureaucracy involved in the registration process, as there would be fewer doubts, for instance, as to what documents to submit, or how products should be classified, and this in itself would certainly shorten the length of the GIS procedure.

Rapid economic growth animating the market
Two other factors fuelling optimism among dietary supplement companies in Poland are the recent upturn in the economy and greater public awareness of dietary supplements. One in five of the respondents see economic growth and thus greater spending power as key to a brighter future for their firms. Dietary supplements are not reimbursed, so sales greatly depend on the size of consumers’ wallets.

A number of survey participants reckon that Poles' increasing understanding of the importance of dietary supplements will also be beneficial to their businesses. On the other hand, only a few respondents believe that more intensive promotion campaigns and bigger advertising budgets would boost sales to any significant extent.

More information on the report:
Marketing Department:
tel. /48/ 12 618 90 20
e-mail: [email protected]

About PMR

PMR ( is a publishing, consulting and market research company providing information, advice and services to international businesses interested in Central and Eastern Europe. With highly skilled staff, top ranked web sites and over ten years of experience, PMR is one of the largest companies of its type in the region.

PMR Ltd.
ul. Supniewskiego 9, 31-527 Krakow, Poland
tel. /48/ 12 618 90 00, fax /48/ 12 618 90 08

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