The Ukrainian pharmaceutical market has traditionally been considered one of the most developed in the entire post-Soviet space. This positive assessment is based on a number of factors including the existence of large pharmaceutical production facilities in Ukraine, a good educational background and, as a consequence, qualified personnel involved in the pharmaceutical industry. The size of the Ukrainian pharmaceutical market as of 2013 exceeded USD 3.2 billion. However, the situation on the market is undergoing changes.
Proposed medical reforms, recently announced by the government of Ukraine, have caused a storm of indignation among national pharmaceutical manufacturers. First of all, this concerns the re-registration of pharmaceutical products previously authorized by the Ukrainian regulator in accordance with European requirements. Such “know-how” is justified by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (MHU) by the need to harmonize the two systems – Ukrainian and European. This argument has a dual nature. On the one hand, indeed, Ukraine has signed an Association Agreement with the EU and harmonization is a part of the country’s planned European integration. On the other hand, the association agreement does not provide for a rigid period for harmonization, and in the absence of a clear understanding of Ukraine’s future EU membership perspectives, it is quite difficult to see the above-mentioned “knowhow” as a priority goal.
The MHU’s argument regarding the need for the re-registration of pharmaceutical products for national manufacturer is also quite questionable. Following the MHU’s logic, this will allow Ukrainian companies to enter Western markets without impediment and thereby increase the export of their products. This argument does not hold water as it directly concerns the strategic planning of pharmaceutical companies. Most Ukrainian companies in this sector do not strive to enter highly competitive Western markets.