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The Outlook for Medical Devices in Central & Eastern Europe
Date:11/29/2011

Responsibility for hospitals was devolved to local governments in 2003. This has shifted the burden of hospital debt to local authorities. Some are planning privatisations, although this is politically controversial and likely to be stopped by the national government. The country has a small but skilled manufacturing sector operating mainly at the low to medium end of the technology scale, but of increasingly of good quality. Local producers tend to concentrate on export markets.

POLAND

The Polish population is estimated at 38.1 million in 2009 with nearly 13% of residents aged 65 years or over. Funding for healthcare in Poland is principally through the health insurance system. The National Health Fund was established in 2003, replacing the 16 Regional Health Funds but financing remains a problem as Poland only spends around 6.2% of GDP on healthcare. This does not fully cover the cost of medical equipment and upgrades required in hospitals. The size of the private healthcare sector is slowly expanding and around a third of health expenditure is private, although out-of-pocket payments account for most of this. In 2009, the Polish market for medical equipment and supplies was estimated at US$1,758 million, or US$46 per capita and around 85% of the Polish medical device market is supplied by imports with Germany and the USA being the leading suppliers in 2007.

HUNGARY

In 2007, the Hungarian government implemented reforms that were aimed at drawing money into the health system and improving the quality of services but these have run into trouble. The new fees for visits to doctors and hospital stays were abolished in March 2008, following a referendum which saw over 80% of voters oppose the fees. Similarly, in February 2008, a new bill on health insurance was signed into law, which enabled private companies to buy shares in 22 new health funds. However, the legislation was repealed in May 2008 and the health funds are to be phased out. Ar
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