This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Greece’s pharmaceutical market is forecast to grow by 0.8% from $8.5 billion in 2021 to $8.6 billion in 2022.
By 2026, the market is forecast to reach $11.2billion, with a 5-year annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%.
Planned investment in Greece’s domestic pharmaceutical market is predicted to boost prescription drug sales. Recent reports have suggested that Greece’s pharmaceutical industry is expected to invest up to $1.4 billion from 2021 up until 2025, on 12 new factories, 52 new production lines, 17 new research centers and 2,000 new jobs.
The rise in investment is driven by several pharmaceutical reforms which have been introduced over the last year to attract R&D-based drugmakers to Greece. The promotion of incentives to attract investments in production and R&D is expected to drive the growth of prescription drug sales.
While notable investments by major firms have been celebrated, it is important to realize that such incentives were created to offset Greece’s clawback system which was created as a measure to help balance the budget following the 2010 financial crisis. This system initially started with a $275 million limit per year but has now morphed into a system where firms must pay back a total of $1.65 billion to the Government (2021 figures). This figure does not include the price cuts firms face as they also negotiate pricing in closed sessions and offer other rebates. While the reference pricing used to calculate price, ranges is in line with the European Union, the final profit line for firms after the clawback, discounts, and other rebates, can be quite severe. Establishment of local facilities has been a tool to offset such expenses, but is not an option available to all firms, and is not something that is sustainable . The Government has committed to address the clawback issue, with phased reductions by 2025.
Favorable demographics will support growth in both the country’s pharmaceutical and Medical Devices & Diagnostic markets in the mid-term, although growth will be lower compared to pre-pandemic levels. As the presence of Covid-19 pandemic continues to put downwards pressure on fiscal expenditure, it is predicted that the Greek government will implement further pricing regulations to keep pharmaceutical spending low. This will likely present a challenge for innovative drugmakers seeking to market new products in the country. The current system is already geared where more innovative products pay greater clawback amounts, in some cases up to 70% of the final product price. Regarding arrears, while there is significant improvement in the last few years, there are still high payment deficits and payment delays of the Health Care System to suppliers.
The Government intends to continue to rationalize pharmaceutical spending by setting pricing ceilings on patented drugs to promote the use of cheaper generic medicines. Greece also is one of the few countries in the European Union to also have a minimum price for generics which is quite high, set at $6.60.
Medical Devices and Diagnostics
Greece’s medical device market will grow at a 2021-2026 CAGR of 8.0% to $1.7b in 2026. The market is predicted to benefit from moderate economic growth in 2022, supported by easing restrictions on domestic activity and international travel, and a healthcare budget that will focus on strengthening the National Health Service. However, market growth will be constrained by high hospital debt and government spending continues to be moderated by the strict fiscal rules imposed by the country’s creditors following the financial crisis.
- Government Projects: In December 2021, the Greek government announced that $3.4 million would be allocated to several hospitals in Western Greece to secure modern medical equipment. Please see the tenders and contracts that are published by the Ministry of Health. European Recovery funds have designated $1.69 billion to the healthcare system with expected procurements to occur in both the pharmaceutical and medical device categories. Entities interested in such opportunities would need to work with a local partner to navigate the government tender process and comply with requirements.
- Private Sector Projects: Several charity organizations or private hospitals will also be making purchases that may be of interest. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supports a series of infrastructure and education projects to enhance the health sector in Greece, with a budget expected to exceed $500 million. Specifically, the SNF grant initiative includes the following projects: The design, the construction, and the outfitting of the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation General Hospital of Komotini, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki and the new General Hospital of Sparta. View information on the private sector projects. For private opportunities, entities should engage prior to tender announcements to ensure that they do qualify to participate in such tenders once they are released.
- Opportunities in the Health ICT Space: Digital transformation has been long overdue in Greece; during the Covid-19 pandemic, legislation (Law 4690/ 2020) was introduced via digital infrastructure to support the provision of healthcare services to patients diagnosed with Covid-19. Greece was also one of the first European nations with a digital vaccine certification card and an online appointment system. Note tender opportunities in Health ICT public sector. Approximately $2.35 billion has been allocated to the digitization of health care, and we expect there to be opportunities especially in the areas of e-prescription and the digitization of health records.
As a member of the European Union (EU) Greece’s local legislation concerning medical devices complies with EU directives. The Greek National Organization for Medicines (EOF) is the national competent authority for regulating pharmaceuticals. EOF was established in 1983, with Act 1316, and is a public entity of the Ministry of Health Social Solidarity. Its purpose is to promote the health and safety of the population by regulating medicinal, medical devices, blood and tissue products, biobanks and by actively developing the pharmaceuticals sector. Medical trade is duty-free within the EU. Import duties are collected from production coming from non-EU countries. Duties assessed on medical equipment imported from the US vary by product, ranging from 5-12 %.
Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies
Association of Health – Research and Biotechnology Industry at http://www.seiv.gr/
To learn more, please contact Industry Specialist Mary Simopoulou at Mary.Simopoulou@trade.gov.