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Consumer Health Trends in Eastern Europe

June 2014

Eastern Europe is one of the world’s most intriguing consumer health regions. Anchored by the large Russian market, many are quick to overlook the myriad secondary markets that drive much of the region’s spending and whose unique cultural and regulatory environments vary widely. This global brief examines the key socioeconomic, health and market trends shaping the industry and provides an overview of the important OTC and VDS categories in the world’s most advanced “developing region”.

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Eastern Europe fairly developed

In most statistics, Eastern Europe compares well with the other developing regions. Its relatively higher wages, greater gender equality and more even income distribution provide a solid foundation for consumer goods industries.

Population stagnation poses a challenge

Populations are expected to stagnate, and even decline in some markets, through 2030. While the resulting greying of the population could benefit some categories (eye health supplements, analgesics), it poses a risk to the industry’s long-term growth prospects, particularly if wages also stagnate.

Unhealthy habits hinder quality of life

High rates of alcohol and tobacco consumption weigh heavily on public health in Eastern Europe, where only two countries can boast of a healthy life expectancy at birth of over 70 years.

Healthcare markets pushing consumers to self-care

While access to healthcare in Eastern Europe is high relative to many developing areas, long waits at doctors’ surgeries and low rates of reimbursement have made self-care with OTC remedies a popular treatment choice in many countries.

Russia dominates, but other markets offer bright spots

Though Russia accounts for the lion’s share of value sales in Eastern Europe, compelling growth stories can be found in other markets such as Ukraine, Romania and Belarus.

Regulations are tightening across the region

Restrictive distribution laws, a growing crackdown on advertising and health claims, a preference for in-country production in Russia and the risk of retaliatory import/export protectionism make the Eastern European regulatory landscape one of the world’s most difficult to navigate.

What this report includes

  • Top-level strategic analysis of how major consumer trends will influence global markets
  • Consumer insight
  • Impact across all relevant consumer markets
  • Unique graphics and case studies
  • Key market snapshots
  • Accompanying presentation to synthesise main findings

Why buy this report

  • Identify factors driving change now and in the future
  • Understand motivation
  • Forward-looking outlook
  • Briefings and presentation should provoke lively discussion at senior level
  • Take a step back from micro trends
  • Get up to date estimates and comment


Sales by category in Eastern Europe in 2013
Key findings
Forces driving consumer health development in Eastern Europe
Consumer health sales across Eastern Europe
Consumer health development by major category over 2008-2013

Economic and Demographic Overview

Eastern Europe among the most advanced developing regions
Population statistics
Widespread population declines expected in Eastern Europe
High alcohol and tobacco consumption drives health concerns
Diets exacerbate health concerns

Over the Counter (OTC) Drugs

Eastern Europe OTC sales by category
Cough, cold and allergy (hay fever) remedies in Eastern Europe
Cough, cold and allergy (hay fever remedies) sales by market
Analgesics in Eastern Europe
Analgesics sales by market
Digestive remedies in Eastern Europe
Digestive remedies sales by market
Dermatologicals in Eastern Europe
Dermatologicals sales by market
Case study: Menarini Group in Eastern Europe
Based in Italy, excelling in Eastern Europe
Menarini’s entrenched position in Russia
More investment needed to maintain position
OTC regulations in Eastern Europe

Vitamins and Dietary Supplements

VDS sales across Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe VDS consumption set to rise
Leading VDS categories in Eastern Europe
VDS category drawing investment
Direct selling gains steam in Eastern Europe
Case study: Pharmstandard OAO ( OTCPharm OAO)
Pharmstandard’s strength at home
Big changes ahead for Pharmstandard
VDS marketing restrictions tightening across key markets

Weight Management and Sports Nutrition

Concern over fitness levels growing
Weight management
Sports nutrition

Country Highlights

Poland struggles to keep pace
Ukraine’s recent growth cast into question
Romania emerges as a regional growth engine


Key takeaways (1)
Key takeaways (2)
Eastern Europe consumer health sales and growth

Report Definitions

Data parameters and report definitions
Related content available in Passport


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