STATISTICS SHOW HUNGARIAN DRUG SALES SLOWDOWN
Official statistics released by Hungary's government indicate that a price freeze is hitting the country's US$1.9bn drug market. According to the Central Statistical Office, production was 6.8% lower year-on-year in the first four months of 2005.
In the same period, sales fell 11.3% and the domestic market shrank by 1.9%. Reflecting the six-month freeze, pharmaceuticals consumer prices were flat month-on-month in May, after steep monthly rises in 2004.
Significantly, the largest decline has been in export sales, at 14.2%. Hungary is a leading regional drug exporter, with a strong manufacturing base. However, leading domestic firms expect changes to import subsidies in Russia to hit sales from the scheme's termination in December.