Monday, 30 August 2021

Pharmacies Make Net Profit of HRK 279.7mn in 2020

ZAGREB, 30 Aug 2021 - Pharmacies earned HRK 279.7 million in net consolidated profit in 2020, which is a 10% increase from 2019 and the largest increase in the past five years, show data from the Financial Agency (Fina).

The sector's total revenue and expenses in 2020 rose by 10.9% from 2019, with revenue going up to HRK 8.02 billion and expenses to HRK 7.7 billion.

Profits, which were earned by 93.1% of businesses in the sector, went up by 9.3% to HRK 285.4 million, while losses dropped by 15% to HRK 5.8 million.

The consolidated result in 2020 was a net profit of HRK 279.7 million, which is an increase of 10% from 2019 and the highest profit earned in the period from 2016 to 2020.

In the period from 2016 to 2020 the number of businesses providing pharmacy services dropped by 9.7%, from 403 to 364, while the number of employees rose to 5,751, 5% more than in 2016 and 1.4% more than in 2019.

(€1 = HRK 7.484465

The average net wage in the sector in 2020 amounted to HRK 8,040, 5% more than in 2019 and 34.7% more than the national average in the business sector, which totalled HRK 5,971. Compared with 2016, the average net wage in the pharmacy sector grew by 15.7% in 2020.

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Sunday, 29 August 2021

Croatian Pharmaceutical Companies Increase Profit and Revenue in 2020

August the 29th, 2021 - Croatian pharmaceutical companies rather unsurprisingly did better than the vast majority of other sectors in pandemic-dominated 2020, raising their profit and revenue considerably.

As Marina Klepo/Novac writes, out of 364 Croatian pharmaceutical companies currently in operation, 339 of them ended the dire year of 2020 with a profit, increasing it by 9.3 percent compared to 2019, to a total of 285.4 million kuna. The figures are far from surprising considering the global public health crisis which broke out in the spring of that year.

According to Fina's data on the matter, total pharmacy revenues rose by 10.9 percent to 8 billion kuna at the same time. With the growth of the workload for Croatian pharmaceutical companies throughout 2020, this activity slightly increased its number of employees, to 78 of them, meaning that there was a total of 5751 in the industry.

The list of Croatian phaemaceutical companies is led by Zagreb's Prima Pharma Pharmacies, which last year had a revenue of 413 million kuna, their profit amounted to 13.8 million kuna, and they have 317 employees.

They are followed by Gradska ljekarna Zagreb with revenue of 367.2 million kuna and a profit of 12.3 million kuna, and Farmacia from Zagreb enjoyed 358.7 million kuna in revenue and 7.7 million kuna in profit.

The ''top five group'' also includes the Split-Dalmatia County Pharmacies and the Zagreb Joukhadar Pharmacies. These top five pharmacies from the ranking list for the year 2020 account for 21.4 percent of the total revenues generated by all 364 Croatian pharmaceutical companies. They employ 1363 workers in total, or 23.7 percent of the total number of employees in this industry, and the share of profit is  slightly lower. Together, they reported 50.1 million kuna in profit.

Although last year was successful for most operating within this industry, losses were recorded by 25 Croatian pharmaceutical companies, four more than the year before. When looking at the pharmacy business over a five-year period, from 2016 to 2020, Fina's data shows that there are now 39 fewer such enterprises currently on the market, with the number having dropped from 403 to 364 or 9.7 percent. At the same time, the number of employees increased by 276 or five percent, from 5,475 to 5,751. The average monthly net salary, on the other hand, increased by 15.7 percent, from 6,947 kuna back in 2016 to 8,040 kuna in 2020.

According to Fina, this is 34.7 percent more than the average monthly net salary in the Republic of Croatia.

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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Gov't and Drug Wholesalers Reach Deal on Debt Settlement

ZAGREB, 14 April, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Wednesday that the government and representatives of drug wholesalers had reached agreement on a debt settlement scheme.

The issue of the debt made the wholesalers restrict and defer the deliveries of medicines to hospitals in late March.

"Today's meeting is one more step towards the debt settlement," Minister Beroš said adding that only together the two sides could solve this decades-long issue which became exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić outlined the elements of the scheme.

In the next three months we will transfer some funds to the Croatian Agency for Health Insurance (HZZO), and the Health Ministry so as to enable the cash flow in those institutions and enable them to pay liabilities towards wholesalers and providers, Marić said adding that those funds would be ensured through the redirection and reallocation of outlays in the state budget.

The monthly allocation for hospitals will be HRK 600 million and an additional 300 million for pharmacies.

In June, the government is likely to conduct a budget revision whereby an additional cash inflow for hospitals and pharmacies will be ensured so that debt deferment period lasts no longer than 180 days for hospitals and 120 days for pharmacies.

In June alone, 135 million kuna will be directed to pharmacies and HRK 760 million to hospitals, with the plan to respect the deferment periods in the remainder of the year.

Marić hopes that this scheme will remove any need for any new meeting with wholesalers on the debt.

The finance minister also expects reform efforts in preventing any  further accumulation of liabilities and in this context he mentioned the plan to cut the deferment period to 60 days.

The wholesalers' representative Diana Percač thanked the ministers for efforts to provide funds to cover the debt.

She also pledged the continuation of the delivery of drugs to pharmacies until the end of this year.

(€1 = HRK 7.571658)

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Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Health Minister Vili Beroš: "Drug Suppliers Clearly Told Gov't Wants to Settle Debt Problem"

ZAGREB, 6 April, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Tuesday that today's meeting with drug wholesalers was a clear sign that the government wanted to solve the debt problem, while Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said additional payments might be made so that drug supply ran smoothly.

"Today's meeting is a clear signal that we wish to solve this problem through joint effort. The meeting was constructive and Minister Marić left open the possibility of additional funds to make sure that drug wholesalers supply the health system regularly," Beroš told the press, reiterating that increasing health contributions was not being considered.

The meeting focused on short-term solutions and the debt repayment schedule, but the government is discussing healthcare reforms that will lead to long-term solutions, Beroš said.

"We presented to drug wholesalers our determination to embark on reforms and our willingness to settle the debt," he said, but added that the Croatian Health Insurance Fund had to redirect HRK 2.5 billion for the treatment of COVID-19 patients instead of regular healthcare.

"This government will do everything so that not one citizen remains without the medicines they need. Last week we found a way through direct payment for medicines necessary for life-threatening conditions, including for cancer patients."

The HRK 900 million ensured for drug wholesalers last week is part of the search for a solution, Beroš said.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Tuesday, 30 March 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Part of Debt to Drug Wholesalers to be Paid in Days Ahead

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Health Minister Vili Beroš would meet with drug wholesalers over the debt for drugs and that a certain amount would be paid in the days ahead.

Representatives of drug wholesalers, pharmacists and drug manufacturers warned last week that the supply of medicines could be restricted due to the HRK 6.5 billion debt, and the Medika company today suspended deliveries to hospitals.

Visiting Osijek-Baranja County, Plenković told press this was a usual situation. "Every once in a while, when an important date is due, whether Christmas, Easter or election day, wholesale drug suppliers unanimously start asking for the money they are due."

"We'll talk about it, the ministers of finance and health will meet with them and certain funds will be paid in the days ahead."

Asked about the payment date, Plenković said the ministers would discuss it. "I'm not an accountant to talk with them about the exact payment date."

The CEO of Oktalpharma, Ivan Klobučar, supported Medika's move, telling N1 television that the government, the Health Ministry, the Croatian Health Insurance Fund and Minister Beroš had been ignoring their appeals for a meeting for three months.

He said the situation was such that those responsible would see how difficult the situation was when "patients and others who are not at fault at all bear the brunt." If someone urgently needs a medicine, they will not get it, he added.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Croatian Drug Manufacturers Call for Effective EU Pharmaceutical Strategy

ZAGREB, November 16, 2020 - The Association of Drug Manufacturers (UPL) with the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) has called for the adoption of an effective EU pharmaceutical strategy to ensure equal access to drug production and supplies for the benefit of patients and the healthcare systems both in Croatia and the EU.

The UPL on Monday sent an open letter to all relevant stakeholders, including Croatian members of the European Parliament, the Croatian Ministry of Health and the Croatian Parliament's Committee on Health and Social Policy, to make maximum efforts and support the adoption of a robust EU pharmaceutical strategy that would work for the benefit of patients and the national healthcare systems in the European Union and Croatia.

Such a strategy would also reinforce the domestic pharmaceutical industry as the most important partner to the Croatian healthcare system and the strongest manufacturing industry in the country, the UPL said in the letter.

The future pharmaceutical strategy would support innovation in the EU pharmaceutical industry and the European manufacture of drugs and active pharmaceutical substances and thus help improve and accelerate patients' access to safe and affordable medicines, it added.

The new EU pharmaceutical strategy is expected to be adopted by the European Commission by the end of this year.

With its open letter the UPL joined Medicines for Europe, the organisation representing the European generic, biosimilar and valued added pharmaceutical industries, in setting five key priorities - supply security, sustainable and affordable budgets for medicines, aligning regulation on medicines with the digital age, retaining and supporting manufacturing technologies of interest to Europe, and aligning the objectives of the industry with the objectives of public healthcare.

The UPL said that more than 60 percent of the medicines used by patients in Croatia come from its members, which is why it considers the new EU pharmaceutical strategy key for the overall stability of the healthcare system and the successful functioning of the economy as a whole.

The UPL members generate about HRK 7 billion in annual revenues, including as much as HRK 5 billion from exports, UPL chairman Mihael Furjan said. 

The Croatian pharmaceutical industry exports its products to about 60 countries round the world, including the United States and EU member states.

Friday, 18 September 2020

24 Hour Croatian Automatic Pharmacy Coming to Varazdin

September the 18th, 2020 - Is there anything quite as bad as being riddled with the flu and having to stand in a pharmacy among others, coughing, sneezing and sweating as you wait for the pharmacist to get you your medicine from the somewhat mysterious back room? In the continental Croatian town of Varazdin, that soon won't be necessary. Meet the Croatian automatic pharmacy.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of September, 2020, the Varazdin County Pharmacy is investing 1.7 million kuna in the automation of its work processes, meaning that the facility located on Kolodvorska Street in Varazdin will be the first county pharmacy in Croatia to introduce the automatic receipt, storage and dispensing of medicines.

The contract was signed by the director of the pharmacy, Zvezdana Petrovic, and the company Gama Futura from Zagreb, according to a report from Vecernji list.

The automated warehouse will have computer control, a robotic arm, and exit locations to which drugs will be delivered. The central pharmacy in Kolodvorska organises on-call duty, so the Croatian automatic pharmacy machine will provide its services 24 hours a day throughout the entire year.

''In practice, this means that the pharmacist will no longer have to go for medicines to various micro-locations in the pharmacy warehouse and bring them to the workplace for dispensing, but instead, the medicines will be delivered from the automated warehouse via connected software modules to an exit location near the dispensing site.

Thanks to this, the pharmacist, as a highly educated healthcare professional, will have more time to talk to the users of the services and for professional counselling for those who have questions about their medication. At the same time, service users will have the service delivered to them more quickly,'' said the pharmacy's director, Zvezdana Petrovic. The most common prescription drugs will be delivered by the automatic Croatian pharmacy, but direct sales and counselling will remain as they are.

''While in Europe such a concept is already common in pharmacies, in Croatia, the automated warehouse has so far been introduced only in one private pharmacy in Slavonia,'' they noted from Varazdin County. Completion of the automatic Croatian pharmacy is expected early next year, as Varazdin County's Deputy Prefect Robert Vugrin announced.

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