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Status and capabilities of the regional veterinary market - interview with Dr. Jacek Wójcik

Status and capabilities of the regional veterinary market - interview with Dr. Jacek Wójcik

Publish date: 2014-05-16

Jacek Wójcik, PhD in veterinary, works in the veterinary drugs wholesale company POLWET-CENTROWET. He characterizes in this interview the veterinary market of Central Europe region. He also says how, in his opinion, it will develop in the near future and talks about the development of cooperation with Western Europe and the United States.

Tags: bioforum , veterinary , bioforum 2014

Dr. Wójcik will be speaker at BioForum 2014 - the trade fair bringing together community related to life science markets of Central and Eastern Europe and other parts of the world. BioForum will be held this year in Poland on 28th and 29th of May. For more information about this event visit its official website: It is still possible to sign up for this event!


How do you think the Polish veterinary market presents itself against the markets of other countries from the region of Central Europe? And how against the markets of Western Europe?


Dr. Wójcik: The term "Central Europe" should be clarified first, because there are different definitions of it. If we assume that these are the Visegrad Group countries, than Central Europe consists of Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

Polish veterinary market, as well as markets in other countries of Central Europe, is developing in a similar way after the transition period. In this respect, there are no any special differences. Poland, however, has greater market potential, which is conditional upon, inter alia, greater numbers of cattle production (cattle, pigs, poultry) and accompanying animals (dogs, cats, horses). The differences that can be observed are rather in the nature of the concern, or organization of animal production in different countries. In Poland, for example, there are a lot of small farms involved in production or fattening pigs. For comparison, in Czech Republic this form of pig production does not occur. This is historical conditioning. In post-war Poland, the previous regime did not entirely eliminate individual ownership of farms. In the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia), this form of farms did not exist. There were only large state-owned farms, which have been privatized during transition.

There are also no special differences, beyond the current market potential, between the markets of Central and Western Europe. Both in terms of the rules governing the use of veterinary medicinal products and feed, as well as sanitary and veterinary regulations, the same Community law apply to them. Also I do not think that we can now talk about some specific differences in technological advancement in specialized animal production. The same applies to the veterinary market in accompanying animals, such as medical and veterinary services, but with the difference that the veterinary services in the countries of Central Europe are still far cheaper than in Western Europe.


In which direction should the veterinary market in Central Europe develop in your opinion?


Dr. Wójcik: Directions of development are dictated by the market, especially for so-called livestock (dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs and poultry). It is therefore difficult to determine in which direction these markets should be developed. Undoubtedly, in Poland it should and certainly will consolidate production of smaller farms, which has simple economic reasons. Another change that can be expected will be form of the distribution of medicines and veterinary products. A large number of small and medium-sized suppliers will disappear in favor of large, well-organized entities. The question is whether from the point of view of the recipient, such as a veterinarian or breeder, it will be the best solution.

Within the services to the so-called accompanying animals, there is certainly need for further professionalisation and specialization, however, the current level of these veterinary services is very high. More and more highly complex medical and veterinary treatments are performed, the level of veterinary diagnostics has significantly improved, and many young vets are leaving for internships and trainings to the reference veterinary clinics located in Western Europe. However, it seems to me that the problem we should still deal with is a significant fragmentation of these services - there are a number of minor veterinary offices that are not necessarily technically able to provide services at the highest level. At the same time there are large specialized veterinary clinics providing a full range of highly professional medical services.


Do you see potential in the development of Polish veterinary sector in cooperation with companies from Western Europe and the US? What kind of cooperation is most needed?


Dr. Wójcik: Of course, yes, although it should be noted that such cooperation has existed for a long time. In Poland, there are located in different forms, at least 16 pharmaceutical companies from Western Europe, including large corporations, such as Merial, Bayer, Pfizer and Novartis. Cooperation with companies from Western Europe continues to evolve, more and more new entrants are seeking to enter the Polish market with their products. This is especially true of companies from within the EU, because we need to fulfill the same regulations of Community law - there are therefore no major legal problems when it comes to issues related to the classification of products, their registration, and marketing. By contrast, there are problems that arise in the case of products originating from non-EU countries, including the US, due, among others, different regulations regarding the classification and registration of veterinary medicinal products in the EU and the USA. Additional barriers are certain difficulties in the implementation of such products to the Polish market (special regulations concerning the representation of the manufacturer). Nevertheless, the potential is huge and if we manage to overcome the legal barriers, our market could be expanded by many interesting products.


How do you think the veterinary market in Europe will be shaped in the future? Do you foresee any major changes in the industry in the upcoming years?


Dr. Wójcik: Certainly the market will develop in the direction of greater specialization and consolidation of producers (livestock). Consolidation will also apply to companies engaged in the distribution of veterinary medicinal products, particularly in the countries of Central Europe. There will also be new forms of distribution.

Specific changes will occur in the therapy and prophylaxis performed with the antibiotics. This will significantly reduce the amount of antibiotics used in animal production, and some groups of antibiotics will be withdrawn from use. This process has already taken place. The consequence will be the development of substitutes, or product market to replace antibiotics with similar properties. Currently, a number of companies is doing research on this type of product. Most are various kinds of plant extracts with proven (according to the producers) bactericidal or bacteriostatic effectiveness. Some of these products are already present on the market. On the Polish market, more and more companies are trying to put such products to market, with a variable success rates so far.


On what issues will you focus during your presentation at BioForum 2014?


Dr. Wójcik: I will present information on the development (since 2007), the structure and organization of the veterinary market in Poland and its potential.


Thank you for the interview.


by Tomasz Domagała


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