James Dudley Management

James Dudley Management

Poland - OTC Consumer Healthcare Market Faces New Challenges

Following ten years of high growth the Polish OTC medicines market has entered a period of maturity in the last four years. The growth between 1995 and 2001 was largely fuelled by price increases that rose some 80% over the period, while volume grew by only 23%.

The value of the total Polish self-medication market is estimated to be euro 658.9 million at MSP in 2002. This represents growth of 2.4% between 2000 and 2002. OTC consumption was estimated at euro 569.1 million i.e. 86% of this market. Yet this was due to price inflation as volume declined by 8% over the same period.

Of the total self-medication sales, in 2003, vitamins, minerals and tonics made up the largest sector with a 23% share, followed by cough and cold with 20% share.

The reason that the total Polish OTC medicines market growth has slowed considerably in the last three years is the large decline in vitamins and minerals and low growth of pain relief and respiratory products. Digestive remedies and nicotine replacement produced strong OTC growth but declined in the prescription sector.

Skin care and gynecological products produced strong growth in both the OTC and prescription sectors in Poland.

“With a population of similar size to Spain, the Polish self-medication market has reached a similar level of value turnover but it still has a tremendous capacity to grow” says James Dudley one of Europe’s leading OTC marketing strategy consultants.

The Polish OTC market is, however, beginning to mature. Furthermore, there is concern over some key economic factors including inflation, trade deficits and growing unemployment. These will no doubt contribute to a slowing of market growth over the medium term.
GlaxoSmithKline is the overall OTC market leader in Poland with almost 10% of the market. The number two OTC player, with approximately 5% share, is U.S Pharmacia. This is a local Polish OTC company with an aggressive new brand strategy. The other main competitors in the Polish OTC medicines market are:



Poland acceded to the European Union in May 2004. In anticipation much of its regulatory framework covering non-prescription and OTC medicines was brought into line with EU directives in 1991.

Poland has also relaxed its regulations to allow some OTC medicines to be sold in supermarkets and non-pharmacy drugstores.

For more details on The Polish OTC Medicines, Consumer Healthcare and Dietary Supplements Markets visit James Dudley Management’s new electronic website.



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