Romania is an eastern European country with a population of 19.12 million people, making it the 12th largest European country. The capital of Romania is Bucharest. Romania is part of the EU, NATO, European Council, BSEC and WTO. Romania is a developing country with a high-income economy.
Romania has a highly centralised universal health care system with a spending of 5% of the GDP. The system covers medical examinations, surgical operations and post operative medical care. It provides free or subsidised medicine. Although the Social Health Insurance and increased health spending Romania has a relatively low life expectancy at birth of 74.2 in comparison with 80.6 as European average. Romania is receiving funds from institutions like the World bank, European Investment Bank and the EBRD. Due to Covid-19 some important reforms took place, one of them being the implementation of telemedicine solutions.
Hungary is a central European country with a population of 9.71 million people. The capital of Hungary is Budapest, through which the Danube flows. Hungary has a high-income economy and a high human development index. Part of this is due to the universal health care system which is free for children under sixteen and certain groups of the society. The Hungarian health care system was communistic after the second world war. In 1990 it changed to a universal healthcare system with a social insurance system which still has strong centralised control. Hungary is a popular destination for medical tourism, especially dental tourism. Like Romania Hungary also has a low life expectancy in comparison with the EU average (75,7 years).
After Romania joined the European Union the market for private hospitals expanded. The private hospitals offer a premium service which is in high demand in Romania. In 2018 new population screening programs were introduced which are aimed at cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and tuberculosis. Part of these programs were funded by the EU structural funds and the World bank.
Covid-19 helped Romania to develop rapidly and align the digital health developments with the European health data space initiative.
In 2019 Hungary launched five national health programs with a focus on prevention. The five programs cover child health, circulatory diseases, mental health, musculoskeletal disorders and cancer. A Nonsmokers protection act has been adopted which forbids smoking in certain areas. Furthermore, a tax on unhealthy products has been introduced (the public health product tax, NETA) which adds taxes on products like soft drinks, salted snacks and alcohol. The Health informatics Service and Development Center (ESZFK) which is owned by the government has as main task the development, application and operation of central health information systems, as well as the customer service tasks of these system. In 2017 EESZT was launched, this is a national eHealth Infrastructure which aims at maximising speed, efficiency and service oriented approach of public health care. It connects health care institutions, pharmacies, and therapists and is serviced by ESZFK.
Research and innovation
1.8% of the Hungarian GDP is intended for innovation. The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) coordinates international collaboration and investors. HIPA supports in location selection, incentives and business development. The most significant research partners are Semmelweis University, the University of Debrecen, Syreon Research Institute Llc, National Research-Development and Innovation Office, The national Institute of Oncology and Pharmacoidea Developer and Service Provider Llc.
NFIA / Invest in Holland network will not proactively work on acquisition in the LSH sector in Hungary and Romania. Reactively, NFIA /Invest in Holland network is keen to welcome and assist foreign companies that contribute to the goal of the Netherlands in finding solutions that deliver better, affordable and sustainable healthcare and strengthen our Life Sciences & health ecosystems.
Romania receives funding from the World Bank through the health program for results which focusses on increasing the coverage of primary health care. A second WB program is the health sector reform project which contributes to improving access to and quality of public health services. The EBRD is focusing on building infrastructure and improving the quality of health services.
The private sector is growing fast in Hungary. Hungary has benefited from investments from the EU with an active presence of the European Investment bank and the European bank for reconstruction and development. The EBRD will focus on the areas with transition gaps and overcoming Covid-19. Main focus of the EBRD will be the support of productivity improvements through innovative financing and green investments
Task Force Health Care has identified 12 unique organisations that are active or interested in Hungary or Romania of which 10 classify as SME.
Most prominent NL value chains
1. The Digital Transformation of Health and Care
- In 2017 Hungary established a centralised IT system which made electronic health data exchange possible between different actors in the healthcare system. Hungary is currently running pilots for the development of a centralised telemedicine service framework. At the moment regulating and structuring telemedicine solutions is high on the agenda. Furthermore an Artificial Intelligence Strategy (MIS) has been set up and defined goals and an action plan. Areas of interest are the responsible use of data assets, strengthening the diagnostic and therapeutic use of AI and developing and implementing AI-supported medical decision-making and medical technology tools.
- In 2019 telemedicine legislation was introduced which listed eligible specialties and services that can be provided by the means of telemedicine. In 2021 additional financing was agreed for Covid-19 support with a focus on certain centers, updates of telemedicine systems, equipment for cervical cancer screening centers, support for the development of standards and protocols, development of HTAs, and the implementation of surveys and studies informing evidence-based health policies.
- The EBRD has a strategy focus on sustainable infrastructure and regional development. The EU has adopted a positive assessment of the recovery and resilience plan under which grants and loans will be disbursed. The plan focuses on increased capacity of management of public health funds, investments in health infrastructure and increased capacity for health management and human resources. Furthermore two investment areas have been selected, the first being the development of pre-hospital medical infrastructure and the second being the development of public hospital infrastructure.
Overview milestones & flagships
- Report: The Romanian health care sector, commercial opportunities, and possibilities for cooperation
- Sector study e-Health Hungary
- Dutch Health Sector Market Study 2022 Romania
- LSH mission to Bucharest and Budapest