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Increasing integration with the world economy and accession to the European Union (EU) in 2007 have been key pillars in taking the growth potential of Romania's pharmaceutical market to greater heights. Valued at $3.3 billion, Romania was recently labeled an IMS Tier 3 category of "Fast Followers" among the world's 17 pharmerging nations. "One of the larger EU members, Romania stands for an incredible market opportunity in terms of size and population—9th and 27th in the EU, respectively—offering investors a strong market potential as the second-largest country in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) after Poland," explains Sorin Vasilescu, director of the Foreign Investment Department under Romania's Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Environment.
Hamangia: The Thinker and the Sitting Woman, Copyright Nicu Oprea
Regrettably, a European Commission (EC) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) joint study from 2010 showed that Romania still has the lowest life expectancy in the entire EU. Historical analyses show how chronic underfunding of the healthcare system has taken its toll on the Romanian patients. According to a June presentation of the Romanian Association of International Medicines Manufacturers (ARPIM), current healthcare expenditures amount to only 3.6% of the country's GDP. In comparison, the 2009 averages in the EU and Africa stood at 8.6% and 5.9%, respectively, putting Romania in the same line with Madagascar and Burundi.