Polish OTC market: upbeat forecast for 2007

According to the latest report “OTC market in Poland”, compiled by PMR in partnership with PharmaExpert, Poland's OTC pharmacy market was worth PLN 5.7bn (€1.5bn) at the end of 2006, thus growing in value by 4.4% relative to the preceding year. PMR expects the market for over-the-counter products distributed via pharmacies to expand by over 7% in 2007.

Key OTC market drivers in 2006
“The year-on-year decline in the annual growth of the OTC market in 2006 was primarily a consequence of slower growth in sales of non-drugs, a category which had earlier noted spectacular results”, Monika Stefanczyk, the co-author of the report, stated. Non-drugs comprise all those products sold in pharmacies that have not been accorded the status of a drug, such as dietary supplements, cosmetics, dental materials, dressings and hygiene products, medical equipment, and various supplements. Sales of non-drugs rose sharply between 2004 and 2005, i.e. by 20-30% a year. In 2006 the pace of y-o-y growth slowed to 11% as manufacturers exhausted the available options for re-classifying their drug products as non-drugs, a practice which had propelled market growth in previous years. In addition, growing competition on the market combined with deteriorating financial results meant that many pharmacies were less inclined to purchase goods simply to top up inventory; they preferred instead to focus on selling drugs rather than on ordering other products which they felt less confident about selling. In the non-drugs category, dietary supplements have enjoyed the strongest sales growth over the past few years.
Another reason why the OTC market grew less buoyantly in 2006 than in previous years was a lower incidence of infections among the population. According to the National Institute of Hygiene (PZH), the number of flu cases in 2006 (approx. 300,000) was less than half that recorded in 2005 (approx. 700,000).

Growth forecasts for OTC market
In our opinion, the OTC market in Poland will grow by over 7% in 2007 as a result of a higher number of infections in the first four months of the year. The higher number of cases of cold and flu reported has already had an impact on pharmacy OTC sales, which expanded by 14% in the first quarter of 2007. “Since the first few months of this year, when infections tend to be most numerous and generate the highest sales, we expect the pace of growth to slow in subsequent months and for the market to expand by 7% year on year in 2007,” Ms Stefanczyk explained.
Non-drugs which account for approx. one-third of total market value will continue to drive growth on the OTC market in the coming years. Additionally, market value will be enhanced by rapidly rising sales of digestive remedies and medicated skincare products.

Other interesting data from the report:

You are welcome to contact the author of the report:
Monika Stefańczyk, Pharmaceutical Market Analyst
tel. /48/ 12 618 90 57
[email protected]

Joanna Swatowska-Rybak, Head Pharmaceutical Market Analyst
tel. /48/ 12 618 90 52
[email protected]

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

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