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The value of the laboratory diagnostics services market in Poland in 2019 amounted to nearly PLN 7bn or €1.6bn (public and private segment combined). This represented an increase of around 5% year-on-year, according to the latest PMR report. According to PMR, the year 2020 will be a difficult period for the laboratory diagnostics segment, as it is for many other segments of the medical industry and the entire economy, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Economic slowdown and decline in the number of tests in 2020
According to PMR’s assumptions, based on data available as of 24 March 2020, the existing restrictions in the external environment, both on the demand and supply side, disrupted supply chains and a general increase in uncertainty, reflected, inter alia, in the increase in volatility of stock exchange indices, are a significant barrier to economic development in the current year. As a result, PMR expects an almost complete slowdown in domestic economic growth in 2020, which according to current estimates could reach around 0.2 % YoY.
The introduction of an epidemiological emergency first and then an epidemic and the resulting restrictions will also have a significant impact on the segment of laboratory diagnostics services. The number of performed tests will decrease, among others, due to the transition of outpatient facilities to telemedicine mode, suspension of scheduled admissions in hospitals, or suspension of commercial tests by some laboratories. As a result of the worsening economic situation, companies may resign from voluntary health insurances and medical subscriptions or modify their scope towards less complex products. Individuals can opt out of research funded from their own pocket.
When will the market for laboratory diagnostics services make up for the losses?
The value of the laboratory services market will be positively influenced by performing diagnostic tests for coronavirus. At the moment, these are molecular tests, but Poland will most probably also purchase serological tests for quick diagnostics. In the opinion of PMR, however, this will not entirely offset the negative effects of the actions described above.
PMR expects that in the second half of 2020 the Polish medical care system will return to relatively normal functioning. However, it will not be possible to make up for the downtime caused by the coronavirus (overdue surgeries, treatments and medical visits, and, consequently, diagnostic tests) by the end of 2020, due to capacity constraints. Therefore, the market dynamics in 2020 will be negative, according to PMR. At the same time, PMR estimates that this will have a positive impact on the market in 2021. In addition, the increase in the number of tests in 2021 will also be influenced by the introduction of the Prevention 40 Plus programme, under which laboratory tests are planned to be carried out in as many as 11 million Poles within five years.