In 2008, the OTC drug market in the CEE region developed by 26% to 9.2 billion euros. This year, the market is likely to grow by 8%, PMR specialists say. Of total OTC market, Romania held a market share of 4.4% last year. The local OTC market stood at 368 million euros in 2008.

In the last few years the economies of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries (Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia) expanded very dramatically. The favorable economic situation, combined with increases in wages and burgeoning affluence in the countries in question, along with changing lifestyles which prompt people to take better care of their health and appearance, accelerated the growth of the OTC market in Central and Eastern Europe”, PMR said in the report. This year, as people try to limit their spending, the OTC drug market would suffer a contraction accordingly, and in some CEE countries, such as Ukraine, negative growth may even be seen on this segment.

"However, PMR forecasts that, despite this, the overall OTC product market in the region will grow by around 8% to approximately 10bn euros in 2009. This is mainly because, in Russia, the largest market of the region, the OTC product market will see a positive growth rate of several percent this year”, Monika Stefańczyk, Head Pharmaceutical Market Analyst at PMR and report co-author, explained.

Last year, almost half of OTC market value in the region was accounted for by Russia (45.5%), according to PMR estimates. Poland was the second largest OTC market in the region, with a share as a proportion of total sales in excess of 22.1%. Ukraine had a share of around 10%, whereas for the Czech Republic the figure fluctuated around 6%. Romania accounted for 4.4%, Bulgaria – 4.3%, Hungary – 3.4%, Slovakia – 2.4% and Croatia – 1.9%.