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Dominated by low-priced drugs and generic medicines, Moldova’s pharmaceutical market is split in two, with radical differences evident in both rural and urban areas. While residents in urban areas - particularly those in the capital Chisinau - have access to hospitals (many of which have been modernised in recent years), specialist doctors (to the point that many specialities are duplicated) and modern pharmacy chains promoting self-care, rural areas are less well served, as average incomes continue to plummet and many citizens lack health insurance. Demographic problems, such as declining birth rates and the emigration of many professionals, have added to concerns over the quality of care and the access to healthcare resources in the country. The government is aware of these problems and has announced its plans to address them, with proposals for a 15-year strategy plan unveiled in April 2010. The plan addresses areas such as improved child care, education, the creation of employment and protection of families.
Moldova’s political situation is going to play a key part in the development of the country’s pharmaceutical market. With no clear winner emerging from elections in April 2009, the balance of power is currently divided between a ruling four-party coalition, with a pro-European stance (taking 53 seats), and the Communist party, taking the remaining 48 seats. As no party has a two-thirds majority to push a presidential candidate through, new elections are likely to be called following the dissolution of the current parliament, expected some time in June 2010.
The pro-European government has had a difficult first year of leadership as the economic crisis has slowed the country’s progress, but much has been done to bring Moldova closer to Europe, with the international financial aid provided including EUR13.4mn from the European Commission (EC) as part of the Assistance for Healthcare in Moldova. It will be difficult for Moldova to fully align itself with the EU, however, as the country is still closely linked to Russia (the IMF’s Word Economic Outlook report published in April 2010 states that Moldova’s economic recovery will be dependent upon growth in Russia) and the issue of conflict in Transnistria remains unresolved. The outcome of the forthcoming elections is clearly going to play a key role in Moldova’s economic development and determine how attractive the country will become to foreign investors.