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The coronavirus epidemic: a chance or a threat to pharmaceutical companies?

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The spread of the coronavirus epidemic from Wuhan will affect the Polish pharmaceutical and health care market. Companies in China start to close factories and offices and stop production. As a result, both exports and operations of Polish companies present in China may decrease. On the other hand, companies offering drugs and medical equipment used to prevent disease and treat symptoms will benefit.

Sales of medicines and medical equipment may increase

In China, the demand for antiflu medicines and masks is currently enormous as a result of the epidemic. In pharmacies, patients are queuing up to buy them for several hours. They can only buy two packages at a time because they are rationed.

In this situation, companies producing disposable medical equipment can seize the opportunity of increased demand caused by the coronavirus. One of them is the Polish company Mercator Medical, which produces, among others, protective masks, surgical and diagnostic gloves. The company sells its products to China and has its own production plant in Thailand. Similarly, when the virus appears in Poland, and according to the Minister of Health, this will certainly happen, the demand for this type of products will also increase on the Polish market.

Possible suspension of imports of active raw materials

Because of the epidemic in China, factories are being closed down. Meanwhile, according to the Polish Association of Pharmaceutical Industry Employers, almost 80% of active substances used by manufacturers in our country come from China. This may increase prices of medicines on the Polish market and cause problems with their availability. European companies should consider diversifying their sources of raw materials, but this will involve higher costs. On the other hand, Chinese products have been accused of being of poor quality. This may be an opportunity to put the market in order. However, drug prices will undoubtedly rise.

Ministry of Health prepared for the epidemic

Minister of Health Lukasz Szumowski assured that all services have been informed about the procedures and are ready for the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients.

Tests are already ordered in Poland to confirm the presence of the virus. All samples taken from patients in the case of suspected infection are sent to a laboratory in Germany and their examination takes about 48 hours. The tests should be performed in certified laboratories, i.e. in infectious hospitals and sanitary laboratories.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV is a sheath virus, susceptible to all lipid solvents. The first cases were registered at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan in southern China. Symptoms of respiratory infection are most common as fever, coughing and dyspnea. They start to appear between 2 and 14 days of infection.

Almost 8,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in China. So far, 170 people have died and 133 patients have been found to be cured.

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