Hungary, a country located at the heart of Eastern Europe, has a long tradition in terms of production of pharmaceuticals. Indeed, the country has a large number of pharmaceutical companies recognized internationally, playing for the Hungarian economy a key role. How is made this industry, and how does it manage its influence on the national and international markets?
Generic drugs: the Hungarian main product pipeline
As a matter of fact, Hungary is one of the largest pharmaceutical producers in Eastern Europe . Formerly state enterprises , the Hungarian pharmaceutical companies since their privatization that was set up between 1991 and 1996 play a key role in the country’s economy. This was made possible on the one hand thanks to a large number of research programs implemented by several universities and institutes that support this industry which focuses mainly on R&D, and makes it an innovation vector. On the other hand, the country is very favorable to the use of generic medicines, therefore companies got specialized in this type of production to meet the growing demand for generic drugs, which led to a clear improvement in the quality of services health in just a few years. The country exporting on a constant basis is also benefiting from a large number of foreign investments, which amounted in 2012 to 80 million Hungarian forints (HUF), allowing the country to employ 13,500 people, including over 2,100 people working in R&D. However, the reshaping of the sector is leading to new conditions that pharma companies and laboratories have to face. Indeed, the Hungarian government supports the cheapest drugs and gives them preferential treatment in terms of marketing, thus many manufacturers that are focused on research feel aggrieved by these measures that financially avoid hampering innovation.
Innovation at the heart of the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry
Hungary stands out from its competitors thanks to a focus on innovation as its companies are supported by a large number of organizations, institutes and universities. However, Hungary is also an ambitious country and therefore aims for the modernization of its production processes. Companies established on the Hungarian territory such as Teva (worldwide largest supplier of generic drugs), Sanofi -Aventis (4th global company in terms of sales on prescription) and Gedeon Richter (largest Hungarian company) already devote to the modernization of their equipment in order to set up a partial, or complete automation of the manufacturing process. Let us take the example of Gedeon Richter: the company recently invested 35 million euros in new steroids production systems. The contract was obtained by the automation giant ABB, which is entrusted with the task of adapting the equipment to the standards imposed by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), while allowing the automated system to manage the planning, monitoring and testing of the tasks to be performed. More than a combination of a large number of criteria, ABB will also give machines some flexibility for adjustments to be made at a later date, while respecting safety standards in force. Those changes are a significant step forward but also a challenge for the multinational machines supplier, which by installing its 800xA system questions the whole manufacturing process of these steroids.
The Hungarian pharmaceutical industry is definitely bound to be even more efficient and to gradually gain the European generic drugs market, as this promising market is booming since the early 2000s.