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Healthcare Resource Guide: Poland

Poland Statistics


Polish Flag

Summary

Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process

Reimbursement

Barriers

Trade Events

CS Contacts

Market Size

Capital: Warsaw

Population: 38 million

GDP: 469.51 billion US dollars in 2016

Currency: zloty (PLN)

Language: Polish

Summary

Poland, the sixth largest country in the European Union with a population of 38 million people, represents one of the biggest health care markets in Central/Eastern Europe. That stated, the healthcare sector in Poland has been in a somewhat challenging financial condition of late, and the short-term outlook in the public healthcare sector (the largest sector of health care in Poland) remains tentative. Since 1999, the Polish health care sector has gone through several unsuccessful attempts at reform.

The Polish healthcare system, although established within the framework created by the EU, is still strongly influenced by the internal politics of the state. Since 2003, healthcare services have been financed, supervised, and controlled by the Ministry of Health, the National Health Fund, and local governments. The Ministry of Health plays a key role in determining the health policy of the country, preparing drug reimbursement lists, setting drug prices, financing and implementing national health programs, financing clinical and research hospitals and specialist institutes, financing specialized services, financing scientific research, and educating medical staff. The role of funding bodies of most of public healthcare facilities are local governments. The National Health Fund (NFZ) contracts out services from healthcare providers for the population while local governments play an administrative role. The NFZ is responsible for financing the operating costs of the health care system in Poland, i.e. the daily costs of the primary care, outpatient and in-patient care, as well as reimbursement for medicines and rehabilitation products. The NFZ operates on the actual, current contributions of employers and employees.

Poland’s current government, the Law and Justice Party, which came to power in October 2015, announced a series of reforms in the public healthcare sector. The most important adjustments include:

­ Suspension of commercialization of public hospitals and ban on selling majority of interest in already functioning state-owned facilities or local government units to private entities

­ Abolishment of the National Health Fund (NFZ) and returning to budget funding

­ Establishment of hospital chain

The Minister of Health presented the outline of the proposed healthcare reform. The most essential change considers the elimination of the NFZ and the transition from insurance based to budgetary financing system. According to the proposal, all Polish citizens will have access to free healthcare, and the system will be directly financed from the income tax revenues. Public expenditure on healthcare are supposed to gradually increase starting from 2018, to eventually reach 6% of GDP in 2025 (up from current 4.8%). Moreover, the proposal includes a new contracting system for hospitals, which involves moving away from financing individual hospitalizations and procedures. Instead, selected hospitals belonging to the so called “hospital network” will receive a lump sum remuneration for the entire year to provide health care services to all patients. A maximum limit contract will be replaced with minimum limit contracts, which hospitals will have to fulfill in order to receive an adequate budget in the next year. The Minister claims that basically all public hospitals will be included in the “network”, while 20% of expenditures will be allocated on the basis of current rules.

Underfunding has been and remains the main problem for the Polish healthcare sector. The level of healthcare sector financing from public sources is one of the lowest in Europe. Most public expenditures are designated for treatment taking place in public hospitals. The health needs of Polish citizens and the failure of public financing determines that most expenses come from private resources of households – 23% of all expenditures on the healthcare constitute private expenditures. The majority of private expenditures of households are dedicated to medicaments (over 68%), outpatient healthcare (about 29%), and hospital treatment (about 2%).

However, the underfunding problem will not be solved by increasing the level of funding. The healthcare system requires more effective management of funds, identification of areas requiring investment and development, and balance of growing expectations of patients and supply of advanced medical technology with healthcare payer’s capacity. The most important organizational problem of the Polish healthcare system seems to be the existence of the central and highly monopolistic public insurance market, namely the National Health Fund (NFZ). NFZ is inefficient and is based on an annual cycle of public finance management, or by establishing the limits of patients in each specialization for a given year, which results in constant lengthening of queues to see specialists.

Polish patients face many months of waiting to visit a specialist, perform basic diagnostics or surgery. According to the Watch Health Care Foundation, it is most difficult to make an appointment with orthopedist (11.2 months), geriatrist (7.1 months), rheumatologist (7 months), dentist (7 months), orthodontist (9.5 months), endocrinologist (9.4 months), angiologist (9 months), infectious disease physician (6.9 months), and hepatologist (5.7 months). In addition, the overage waiting time for a hip replacement is 4 years, a knee surgery 3.6 years, and a cataract surgery 2 years.

Another important challenge for the Polish healthcare system is to create coordinated healthcare, a system taking care of the patient, multi-specialist diagnosing and treatment, and determining it with the proper cooperation of various medical institutions.

An additional important organizational problem of the Polish healthcare system is the lack of physicians, including specialists. According to OECD data, Poland has statistically only 2.24 physician per 1,000 inhabitants. This is one of the weakest results among the EU countries. In neighboring Czech Republic, this indicator stands at 3.7, in Germany at 4.1, while the OECD average is 3.3. A lack of adequate doctors in relation to the increasing demand (Poles are the fastest ageing population in the EU) will lead to more difficult access to medical services. The shortage of human resources in Polish healthcare sector is a result, on the one hand, of the natural losses associated with retiring older generations and migration of healthcare professionals to Western Europe. On the other hand, the influx of new personnel in Poland is mostly driven by domestic supply of new graduates, as recognition of medical degrees earned outside OECD countries in significantly impeded. The age structure of Polish medical staff is highly troubling as well, with 53% of professionally active doctors over age 50, and almost 15% are over 70 years old. The scale of emigration is not easily quantified. However, the number of issued certificates concerning ethical attitude, which are necessary to work as a doctor in another EU country, may serve as a proxy. Since Poland’s accession to the EU, over 10,000 certificates have been issued. The Polish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists conducted a survey that found 37% of young doctors are considering moving abroad. This is a big threat to the stability of medical staff in Poland. The main reasons for the decision to move include: bureaucracy at work, difficulty in obtaining specialization, and, lastly, financial matters.

These continuing issues heavily influence the purchase of medical supplies in general. In addition, operational financing is limited in Poland, even among the larger, more successful Polish companies. Price is the main factor considered by all buyers of medical products in Poland. Quality is usually the next element considered. Investment-type purchases, such as advanced medical equipment, are currently limited, including the private sector.

The overage life expectancy in Poland has improved significantly. For newly-born women, it has grown from 77.5 years to 81.1 years, while for men it grew from 66.8 years to 73.1 years of age. However, life expectancy in Poland is shorter than the average value of this measure for the EU countries (about 3.2 years shorter).

The most common causes of death in Poland are cardiovascular disease (46%), cancer (25.3%), injuries, poisoning and accidents (6.2%), respiratory diseases (5.1%), digestive system diseases (4.3%), urogenital diseases (1.3%), nervous system diseases (1.3%), suicides (1.3%), and infections (0.7%). Also, contagious diseases, especially hepatitis and sepsis, are an important concern. In addition, there is a growing concern with health problems associated with the aging Polish population. According to forecasts by Eurostat, Poland belongs to the fastest-ageing societies of the EU. There are over 5.9 million people in Poland aged 65 and over, which constitutes 15.3 of the population. It is estimated to increase by about 3 million in the coming 20 years, to 8,9 million people. This will result in growing demand for senior care facilities and long-term care services.

Poland has one of the highest rates of medical beds in Europe (more than 600/100,000 inhabitants). Efficiency and cost-seeking activities will result in treatment reorganization that will see the number of beds anticipated to diminish by 19%, in order to reach around 80% of bed-day occupancy ratio. According to the analysis performed by the Ministry of Health during the 2016-2019 period, as many as 570 beds per year will be eliminated in gynecology & obstetrics, 440 in neonatology wards, 260 in internal disease departments and 94 in pediatric surgery. This forecasted decline is the result of the tendency to shift procedures from hospital wards to ambulatory centers (one-day surgeries), as well as more common use of telemedicine. In Europe, this trend is already clearly visible as number of hospitalizations decreases at a double-digit rate.

Poland has a small but skilled medical device manufacturing sector. However, local manufacturers are not very competitive because they lack investment capital and appropriate marketing resources. Thus, medical equipment represents a good prospect for foreign suppliers. About 85% of medical equipment is imported. However, U.S. medical equipment manufacturers face strong competition from European companies. EU suppliers increased market share due to their competitive prices as well as availability of EU assistance packages for Poland. Poland imports medical equipment primarily from Western Europe (mainly Germany), the United States, and Asia (Japan and China).

In general, American suppliers of medical products have a good reputation for high quality products. However, technological advantage is not the only factor determining success in the Polish market. Therefore, American companies should focus on educating end-users and other players in the health care sector. A successful exporter should strongly support its agent/representative with marketing strategies.

Market Entry

The medical market in Poland is a relatively difficult market to enter in most cases. Generally, niche and inexpensive products have a greater chance for success. Pricing is the most critical factor in positioning a product for sale in Poland. Access to capital is difficult for most Polish firms, and business transactions are typically self-financed. Price is a more important factor than quality in Poland's health care market.

The second factor is local availability of service and spare parts. Quality is usually the third element considered by most potential buyers of imported medical devices. Another sale-making factor is quick delivery.

Introducing new products successfully requires a considerable investment in time and expense. Extensive marketing and educational campaigns are recommended for widespread adoption into the marketplace. Polish agents/distributors expect foreign manufacturers to help extensively with marketing expenditures to promote awareness of new products at medical trade shows, seminars and conferences. Operational capital is limited in Poland, even among some larger, more successful Polish suppliers of medical products.

In Poland, medical recommendations are the major source of information on healthcare/medical products and medicines, so a good marketing strategy is to keep doctors well informed about new products. In addition, doctors obtain information from medical conferences and seminars, and expect educated agents/representatives to answer customer questions in order to help them buy the product that meets their needs.

Medical equipment and supplies for the public hospitals are purchased through a competitive bidding process. The owners of public hospitals and clinics (the local governments) finance major investments including equipment purchases; however, local governments’ budgetary limitations have restricted such expenditures. The Ministry of Health directly funds clinical and research hospitals and specialist institutes. In addition, every year the Ministry of Health makes a certain amount of money available through the “Health Policy Program” for financing equipment purchases. These funds are distributed via bidding procedures to public hospitals and clinics. The “Health Policy Program” outlines the most important issues for health care in the country. This state health policy program receives special attention from the Ministry of Health and guaranteed funding from the central budget. The development of the program is often directly connected with equipment purchases. Private clinics can purchase medical equipment and supplies from any sources they wish or through any trading organization they choose. Despite the poor financial condition in the health care sector, medical equipment purchases are made but no specific buying pattern has been identified.

Current Market Trends

The latest restructuring of public health care in Poland resulted in establishment of short-term and outpatient facilities. This change required implementation of advanced diagnostic techniques and new surgical procedures that, in turn, created a demand for new equipment. Also, the development of private health care sector in Poland created a need for equipment. The private sector is predominant in providing primary healthcare, out-patient care, rehabilitation, and spa care. However, investment-type purchases, such as advanced medical equipment, has been limited.

The best prospects for U.S. suppliers still exist in the areas of some imaging diagnostics including advanced diagnostic equipment, patient-monitoring systems, surgery equipment (high-tech surgical devices and mini invasive surgery equipment), oncology and nuclear medicine, and cardiovascular surgical devices. The need for medical home-care for the increasing elderly population in Poland might also bring prospects for the American medical equipment market. The increasing elderly population reinforces the demand for equipment and aid-supplies used by nurses and families for home-care. Also, patient and medical personnel safety is of growing concern to both members of the medical profession and the Polish public. Best sales prospects will certainly focus around assuring stringent personnel safety requirements. This is especially due to the concern regarding hepatitis, sepsis and other contagious diseases. Soon, prevention should receive similar emphasis considering the present focus on protection.

Main Competitors

The Polish medical equipment market is growing rapidly and in many directions. This is both due to a growing internal market and the companies themselves, which become increasingly competitive and expand to overseas markets. The major export products manufactured by the Polish medical equipment industry include bio-electronic apparatus, operating theatre equipment, rehab equipment, surgical instruments and devices using medical imaging technologies. One of the most thriving branches of the industry comprises producers of bio-electronic equipment, which is used for vital functions monitoring (patient monitors, defibrillators with the function of monitoring and data transmission, ECG equipment, Holster recorders, spirometers, etc.). Monitoring devices are also offered as network solutions which integrate separate devices into a central monitoring system.

Imports remain a fundamental component of the local medical equipment market, and about 85% of all medical equipment used in Poland is imported. So, medical equipment represents a good prospect for foreign suppliers in general, but U.S. medical equipment manufacturers face strong competition, and particularly from European companies. EU suppliers increased market share due to their competitive prices as well as availability of EU assistance packages for Poland. Poland imports medical equipment primarily from Western Europe, the United States, and Asia (Japan and China).

Current Demand

Funding for healthcare in Poland is principally through the public health insurance system, which accounts on average for about 70% of total spending. Public financing remains a problem as Poland only spends 4.8% of GDP on healthcare. It remains below the level observed in other EU countries; only Romania and Bulgaria spent less. This does not fully cover the cost of medical equipment and upgrades required in public hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

In its financial plan for 2017, the National Health Fund (NFZ) projected PLN 77 billion of revenues, out of which 95% will be spend on healthcare, a PLN 3.8 billon increase. However, various experts raise concerns about whether this value is feasible. The recently introduced “Rodzina 500+” program, lowering of the retirement age, and ongoing population ageing, may negatively affect the amount of active labor force. Even increasing salaries may not offset the decline in the number of contribution payers. Resulting divergence in revenues and expenditure of the public insurer might require a decrease in valuation of health benefits in medium to long term and as a consequence reduce margins in the industry.

In Poland, the end-users of medical equipment are the service providers themselves. Service providers include public hospitals (the largest sector of health care in Poland), private clinics, and private doctor’s offices. The private sector is developing, although it is growing mainly in major cities. One should take into account the difference between the average patient in a private clinic and the average patient of public hospitals and medical facilities. The public sector receives annual funding for equipment purchases and medical supplies including drugs. Private institutions try to maintain a stock of products based on supply and demand, and generally respond better to a new technology or innovation if it is well marketed.

In Poland, there are 980 general hospitals offering almost 190k beds and treating nearly 7.9 million patients. The rate of beds in general hospitals to 100,000 inhabitants is 489 and decreased slightly by 0.1% compared to the previous years. Total number of medical beds, including not only general hospitals, but also psychiatric hospitals and ambulatory care centers amounts to 658/100,000 inhabitants, significantly above the EU average (526). The ownership structure has undergone some major changes in recent years, as the number of private hospitals grew from less than 300 in 2010 to around 560 in 2016. However, given the new legislation prohibiting private entities to acquire majority stakes at public hospitals and disapproval for the commercialization process, the transformation of public hospitals to private entities will most likely decelerate or even stop in the next years. Moreover, there is a big threat for already existing private hospitals. The majority of private hospitals used to sign contracts with the NFZ for medical service (PLN 6.3 billon in 2016). Favorable treatment of public entities indicated by the new authorities poses a big risk that these contracts will not be renewed in the future.

Due to poor quantity of public healthcare services and long queues for specialty doctors and surgical treatments with no prospects for a quick change, Poles (a wealthy part of population in particular) are more and more determined to pay for doctor’s appointments, one-day hospital stays and rehabilitation treatments. The ageing of population will result in healthcare in a significant growth in geriatrics, long-term and rehabilitative care facilities. Thus, it is expected a major increase in demand for physiotherapist services and home care equipment and services for older people.

According to the PMR Research (www.research-pmr.com), in 2016, the private healthcare market in Poland grew by about 7.1%, reaching the value of PLN 42.8 billion. In the coming years, its annual growth rate will stand at about 7%, and in 2017 it will reach PLN 45.9 billon (an increase of 7.2% compared to the previous years).

Registration Process

As Poland is a member of the European Union, import regulations for medical equipment are harmonized with the European Union’s Medical Device Directives, which cover essential safety, health and environmental requirements. Full details are available here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/home_en - use search option to write “medical devices.”

Based on the new approach, rules relating to the safety and performance of medical devices were harmonized in the EU in the 1990s. The core legal framework consists of 3 directives: Directive 90/385/EEC regarding active implantable medical devices, Directive 93/42/EEC regarding medical devices and Directive 98/79/EC regarding in vitro diagnostic medical devices. They aim at ensuring a high level of protection of human health and safety and the good functioning of the single market. These three main directives have been supplemented over time by several modifying and implementing directives, including the last technical revision brought about by Directive 2007/47/EC. For details, please view: http://ec.europa.eu/health/home_en - use search option to write “regulatory framework.”

Products manufactured to standards adopted by European standards organizations and published in the Official Journal as harmonized standards, are presumed to conform to the requirements of EU Directives. The manufacturer then applies the CE Mark and issues a declaration of conformity. With these, the product will be allowed to circulate freely within the European Union, including Poland.

American exporters should be aware that electrical voltage in Poland is 220 and the current frequency is 50 Hz. Power cables and plugs must be consistent with Polish standards. Labeling and instructions for use (operation manual) must be in Polish language.

Polish distributors and importers of medical devices are required to obtain product declaration or notification with the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocide Products

(Urzad Rejestracji Produktow Leczniczych, Wyrobow Medycznych i Srodkow Biobojczych) http://www.urpl.gov.pl/en or http://www.urpl.gov.pl - go to English.

Reimbursement

A registration of medicinal product is granted either by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) or the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products (http://www.urpl.gov.pl/pl). The reimbursement approval process is performed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and requires pharmaceutical companies to complete a reimbursement submission form. The Health Technology Assessment Agency – AOTM (http://www.aotm.gov.pl/www/) was established as an advisory body to the Ministry of Health. Its opinion is said to be crucial for the MOH, but the decisions in practice are not always consistent (reimbursement granted by MOH without or with negative opinion of AOTM, reimbursement not granted by MOH when the opinion was positive).

Poland’s complex reimbursement system has undergone several revisions. At present, there are several levels of reimbursement: flat-rate (R) - patient pays a basic prescription charge of 10 PLN - about 2.70 USD per item; it applies to essential list drugs, 0% (non-reimbursed), 30% co-payment, 50% co-payment, and 100% payment. A separate reimbursement list for drugs for seniors (a new ‘S’ category - free of charge) was recently created, and will be expanded over time. The list consists primarily of drugs commonly used among elderly patients with focus on chronic disease, which require drugs that are used on a continual basis and can be a significant long-term cost burden for patients. The program will have a significant impact on Polish citizens over 75, and on the pharmaceutical industry. It was reported that in 2016, seniors over the age of 75 bought 4 billion PLN, about $1.1 billion worth of drugs. It is estimated that the new act will lower the out-of-pocket drug expenses for seniors by at least 40%.

The Ministry of Health plays a key role in determining the health policy of the country, preparing drug reimbursement lists, setting drug prices, financing and implementing national health programs, financing clinical and research hospitals and specialist institutes, financing specialized services, financing scientific research, and educating medical staff. The role of funding bodies of most of public healthcare facilities are local governments. The National Health Fund (NFZ) contracts out services from healthcare providers for the population while local governments play an administrative role. The NFZ is responsible for financing the operating costs of the health care system in Poland, i.e. the daily costs of the primary care, outpatient and in-patient care, as well as reimbursement for medicines and rehabilitation products. The NFZ operates on the actual, current contributions of employers and employees.

Barriers

As Poland is a member of the European Union, import regulations for medical equipment are harmonized with the European Union’s Medical Device Directives, which cover essential safety, health and environmental requirements. Products manufactured to standards adopted by European standards organizations, and published in the Official Journal as harmonized standards, are presumed to conform to the requirements of EU Directives. The manufacturer then applies the CE Mark and issues a declaration of conformity. With these, the product will be allowed to circulate freely within the European Union.

In general, there are no restrictions in Poland on sales or the importation of used medical equipment by either state-owned or private medical facilities but market opportunities for used medical equipment is relatively small. Medical equipment for the public hospitals and clinics is purchased through a competitive bidding process. Tenders are openly announced by procurement authorities directly or via Internet sources (e.g. http://www.przetargimedyczne.com/). Private clinics can purchase medical equipment from any sources they wish or through any trading organizations they choose but no specific buying pattern has been identified. Leasing of medical equipment has become more and more popular in Poland, especially among an increasing number of private clinics and private medical facilities.

Please note however that the “Pharmacy for Pharmacists” bill recently passed in the Polish Parliament (Sejm) would essentially freeze the pharmacy chain market, prevent future expansion, and hinder future sales of pharmacy outlets. The bill went into effect June 25, 2017. The significant ownership restrictions in the bill would lead to sharp declines in valuations for U.S. and other foreign-owned chains. However, 385 Polish-owned pharmacy chains will also suffer. It is widely acknowledged that pharmacy chains provide greater access to pharmaceuticals both on and off the reimbursement list, better customer service, and on average lower prices, than pharmacies owned by a single pharmacists or sole-proprietor.

Procurement & Tenders

In Poland, all public tenders are announced in a public procurement bulletin “Biuletyn Zamowien Publicznych” issued by the Public Procurement Office: https://www.uzp.gov.pl/

The Ministry of Health announces its public tenders on its website

http://www.mz.gov.pl/ministerstwo/urzad/zamowienia-publiczne-1/

Announcements for tender proceedings are also available in the Public Information Bulletin of the Ministry of Health http://www.bip.mz.gov.pl/zamowienia-publiczne/

More information on tenders is available on the website of the Public Procurement Agency of the Ministry of Health

http://www.zzpprzymz.pl/ogloszenia-o-przetargach.php

In addition, hospitals and medical facilities (clinics, laboratories, research institutes, etc.) announce tenders on their websites in Public Information Bulletins

Trade Events

Name of event: SALMED

Location: Poznan

English language website: (http://www.salmed.pl/en/) or http://www.salmed.pl/ - change to English

Description: The largest event for the healthcare/medical industry sector in Poland held biannually at the Poznan MTP fair ground. The next edition of SALMED will take place 15-17 March, 2018.

Other exhibitions and conferences in the medical equipment and supplies sector are:

Name of event: CEDE

Location: Poznan

English language website: https://www.cede.pl/2017/en/ or https://www.cede.pl/ - change to English

Description: The Central and Eastern European conference and exhibition for dental industry sector held annually at the Poznan MTP fair ground. The up-coming show will be held 14-16 September, 2017.

Name of event: Warsaw International Healthcare Exhibition (WIHE)

Location: Warsaw

English language website: http://wihehospital.pl/O-targach

Description: The WIHE presents the latest achievements of medicine and medical technologies. The exhibition spans through variety of categories ranging from medical equipment of diverse specialties, IT solutions in medicine and telemedicine through medical furniture and disposables to disinfection and sterilization. The up-coming show will be held 19-21 October, 2017

Name of event: International Hospital and Healthcare Management Conference

Location: Warsaw

English language website: https://www.termedia.pl/Konferencje?Invitation&e=628&p=4193

Description: International Hospital and Healthcare Management Conference, organized annually by the Polish Hospital Federation, is the largest of its kind in Poland, and is attended by senior level hospital executives, policymakers, experts and industry leaders. The conference is addressed to hospital executives, hospital owners, investors, and the healthcare industry. The recent event took place 22-23 June, 2017. The 12th edition of the conference will be held in 2018.

Government Links:

The Ministry of Health

http://www.mz.gov.pl/ - change to English

Government Health Plans:

National Health Plan, a strategic document for the public healthcare including the primary objectives as follows: extension of Polish citizens’ life expectancy, improvement of live quality, and reduction of social disproportions in healthcare. You may download the document in pdf or doc format from the Ministry of Health web site at the following address:

http://www.mz.gov.pl/zdrowie-i-profilaktyka/narodowy-program-zdrowia

National Health Programs, a health policy program that contains specific goals and defines the timetable for their completion. The health policy programs include: significant epidemiological events, essential health problems (other than epidemiological) and possibilities to eliminate or reduce these problems, and implementation of new medical procedures and prevention measures. You may download the document in pdf or doc format from the Ministry of Health web site at the following address:

http://www.mz.gov.pl/zdrowie-i-profilaktyka/programy-zdrowotne/

FAQs

Is it the custom in Poland to work exclusively with a local distributor?

Yes, it is a general practice to work with a local representative/distributor. Direct purchases from foreign suppliers are very unusual. U.S. firms should identify local representative that can provide necessary assistance. A reputable representative with good contacts can provide important and timely information, which is often not readily available through public sources. Additional considerations should be given in view of complicated tender procedures, import regulations, and medical products registration procedure.

Are most medical equipment sales made via tender?

Medical equipment and supplies for the public hospitals are purchased through a competitive bidding process. All tenders are announced in a public procurement bulletin. Private clinics can purchase medical equipment and supplies from any sources they wish or through any trading organization they choose. In spite of the poor financial condition in the health care sector, medical equipment purchases are made but no specific buying pattern has been identified. Leasing of medical equipment has become more and more popular in Poland, especially among an increasing number of private clinics and private medical facilities.

What are the local market conditions?

The medical market in Poland is a relatively difficult market to enter in most cases. Generally, niche and inexpensive products have a greater chance for success. Price is a more important factor than quality in Poland's health care market. The second factor is local availability of service and spare parts. Quality is usually the third element considered by most potential buyers of imported medical devices. Another sale-making factor is quick delivery. Introducing new products successfully requires a considerable investment in time and expense. Extensive marketing and educational campaigns are recommended for widespread adoption into the marketplace. Polish agents/distributors expect foreign manufacturers to help extensively with marketing expenditures to promote awareness of new products at medical trade shows, seminars and conferences. Operational capital is limited in Poland, even among some larger, more successful Polish suppliers of medical products.

What are the import regulations in Poland?

As Poland is a member of the European Union, import regulations for medical equipment are harmonized with the European Union’s Medical Device Directives, which cover essential safety, health and environmental requirements. Products manufactured to standards adopted by European standards organizations, and published in the Official Journal as harmonized standards, are presumed to conform to the requirements of EU Directives. The manufacturer then applies the CE Mark and issues a declaration of conformity. With these, the product will be allowed to circulate freely within the European Union.

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Additional information on the healthcare-medical sector in Poland as well as more general information on the Polish market, including the country commercial guide, can be requested from the US Commercial Service Warsaw at http://export.gov/poland/

Name: Zofia Sobiepanek-Kukuryka

Position: Commercial Specialist

Email: zofia.sobiepanek@trade.gov

Phone: +48 22 625 4374

Market Size

Healthcare spending (including investment)

 

... as percent of GDP

4.8%

... of which spent on inpatient services (including long-term care)

7.5 billion USD

... of which spent on pharmaceuticals/consumables

280 million USD

... of which spent on investments

N/A

... of which spent on outpatient services

240 million USD

Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:

Number of hospitals

970

…Public

540

…Private

 

Number of hospital beds

190,000

... available beds per capita

Poland has one of the highest rates of medical beds in Europe - more than 600 per 100,000 inhabitants

...of which in general hospitals

The rate of beds in general hospitals – 489 per 100,000 inhabitants

...of which in specialized clinics and rehabilitation centers

N/A

Number of surgical procedures

N/A

...of which [top procedure]

 

...of which [second highest procedure]

 

Physicians

143,000

An important organizational problem of the Polish healthcare system is the lack of physicians, including specialists. According to OECD data, Poland has statistically only 2.24 physician per 1,000 inhabitants. This is one of the weakest results among the EU countries. In neighboring Czech Republic, this indicator stands at 3.7, in Germany at 4.1, while the OECD average is 3.3.

...of which surgeons

8,900

...of which internists

29,000

...of which pediatricians

14,900

Dentists

18,500

Demographics

Population

38 million

Life expectancy men/women

The overage life expectancy in Poland has improved significantly. For newly born women it has grown from 77.5 years to 81.1 years, while for men it grew from 66.8 years to 73.1 years of age. However, life expectancy in Poland is shorter than the overage value of this measure for the EU countries (about 3.2 years shorter).

Infant mortality

4.0 deaths per 1,000 births. Infant mortality in Poland is lower than European average (5.7). Also, maternal mortality of women in Poland is lower than European average (6.0). In Poland, it is 4.4 per 1,000 women giving birth.

Percent of population older than 65

15.3%

...projection, 2030

Poland’s population continues to be the fastest ageing society in Europe, with the number of people aged 65 or older expected to grow by more than 3 million in the next decade, reaching over 19-20% of the entire population.

Annual deaths

38,000

...caused by [highest disease burden]

cardiovascular disease

...caused by [second highest]

cancer

Prevalence of [fastest growing disease burden]

There is a growing concern with health problems associated with the aging Polish population. Also, obesity remains one of the biggest threats to the health, causing or encouraging the development of hypertension, coronary heart disease and many others. At the end of 2014, more than 62% of men had problems with weight (44% were overweight and 18% had obesity). Excess weight relates mainly to middle-aged and older men. In case of women, there is also a slight deterioration, with 46% having problems (30% overweight and 16% obese).


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