In a report, the analyst put the entire market for food supplements sold in pharmacies at €1.28bn in 2014.
Romania overtook the ‘saturated’ Czech Republic as the second biggest market in central Europe (CE), while overall growth in 2012-2014 had slowed, principally due to the chilled economic climate across Europe. A devalued Czech krona contributed that refiguring.
The researcher went on: “Another reason was the growing competition caused by cheaper products, including private label items, and the associated obstruction of the growth of prices, a phenomenon which took effect mainly in Poland, and a situation which affects the overall region, because of the substantial proportion involved.”
While the markets would show healthy growth overall they would not match the figures of 2010-2011.
Romania was highlighted as the fastest growing country between 2011 and 2014, registering 14% per annum growth, which included 24% growth in 2010-2011.
Despite the fact it was “increasingly saturated, given the current purchasing power of the population” the nation would outgrow other countries in the region until 2020, at 12% a year. Bulgaria was next at 11% per annum.
Factors in Romania’s rise included “the lowest per capita OTC spending in CE, government policy which focuses on cheap medicines and stricter control of Rx distribution, which causes Romanian patients to buy OTC products more often, the expansion of pharmacy chains and difficulties in gaining access to doctors.”
At the other end of the spectrum, going forward, Hungary and the Czech Republic will expand most slowly, at 4% and 3% per annum, with flat economies to blame.
Hungary was losing products as the result of the EU-wide marketing crack-down under the nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).
“Despite this, market growth in Hungary will be still positive and we believe there is potential for growth in the longer term because of the low per capita spending figure.”
Despite recording the lowest growth rates mostly due to a staurated market, the Czech situation looked good long term. PMR said as it was one of the most developed marketplaces in Europe, with per capita spending exceeding that of most other European countreies.