Romanian Drug Makers to Challenge Foreign Markets

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There are only a handful of Romanian drug exporters and few domestically manufactured products are present on foreign markets. Nevertheless, the main domestic producers seem set to exploit all the niches available to further boost their exports.

Domestically well-known names now have the advantage of being part of global giants whose teams of medical representatives can easily take over promotion tasks.

"Romania's drug exports are quite limited, at around 5% of the value of output. Many producers have the ambition of increasing and even doubling their exports this year," stated Petre Panculescu, chairman with the Association of Romanian Drug Makers.

Producers at this moment find export activities attractive.

The steady growth pace of the market has been attracting new companies and the battle for market share has become extremely tough.

One of the domestic system's weaknesses is the quarterly adjustment of prescription drug prices to the foreign exchange rate. When it comes to exports, prices are specifically negotiated by country, not being controlled by domestic authorities.

The main Romanian exporters of drugs are Antibiotice Iasi, Terapia Ranbaxy, Actavis Romania, Sandoz, Zentiva, Gedeon Richter Romania (the former Armedica Trading) or Biofarm.

Actavis Romania (the former Sindan) bet on a niche little exploited by the world's top five producers of generics, oncology drugs, and now the group it has become part of is determined to take its exports to 100 million euros by 2009, to weigh 50% in the sales of the former Sindan plant. In 2006, Actavis Romania's exports reached 10 million euros and the company this year plans to operate exports worth 15 million euros.

One of the best represented drugs abroad is Faringosept, part of Terapia Ranbaxy's portfolio, which accounted for 9 million dollars of the overall 10 million-dollar sales the company generated abroad last year. Ranbaxy drugs, to be also produced in Cluj, will be added to the company's exports.

Another player with a solid presence abroad is Sandoz Romania. In 2006, around 35% of the company's production went across borders. The company wants 80% of production to be exported in 2008.

Antibiotice Iasi also boasts a strong presence abroad. The company started exporting in the '70s and at present has more than 40 products registered abroad.

In the first quarter of this year, Antibiotice's exports hit 1.4 million dollars, up 61% against the similar period of last year. On the other hand, exports by Zentiva SA (the former Sicomed) fell to 1.9 million RON (0.5 million euros), compared with 5.7 million RON (1.6 million euros) at the end of 2005.

The domestic pharmaceutical market soared by 25.3% in the first three months of this year, 10% above initial estimates, and a threefold increase against the first quarter of 2006, to 1.56 billion RON (462.7 million euros).

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