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Highlights from the Region
The Belarusian medical device market is small and under-developed. Key metrics, such as health expenditure per capita and medical device spending, are the lowest in Europe. An ailing economy and a political regime resistant to market modernisation, and therefore unattractive to investors, are both dominating factors which limit the development of the healthcare sector and dampen demand.
The healthcare system in Belarus is little changed from the Soviet era. It is funded through general taxation. In theory, the whole population, other than temporary residents, is entitled to free healthcare, which covers a wide range of services. Pharmaceuticals prescribed for outpatients and dentistry & optician costs require either full or partial payment from patients.
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The Russian market is potentially huge, given its population and potential wealth of natural resources. Health expenditure remains low however, and patients are often forced to rely on out-of-pocket payments for treatment. A system of medical insurance is in place, but it is badly managed and the quality of treatment varies from region to region.
The Russian healthcare system retains many of its Soviet-era characteristics, remaining bureaucratic and inefficient. However, the government’s national Health project aims to improve healthcare standards. Since the project’s implementation, numerous medical facilities have been upgraded and a substantial number of medical personnel have been awarded salary increases. The government will continue to work on the project over 2012-2014.
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe and the 22nd largest in the world. The population is estimated at 44.9 million in 2012. Ukraine aspires to join the EU, but membership is unrealistic for the foreseeable future. Relations with Russia remain complex due to gas disputes and Ukraine's plans to strengthen ties with the EU.
Ukraine experienced a severe recession in 2009, with GDP falling by 15%. The economy has slowly recovered since and growth of 2.0% is expected in 2012. The country’s economic problems have been worsened by political in-fighting. The result of the 2010 presidential election was fiercely disputed, but the eventual winner was Victor Yanukovych, a former prime minister with close Russian links. He defeated Yulia Tymoshenko, who was jailed in 2011 on corruption charges, a move that has been widely seen as politically motivated.
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