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The Healthcare system must be a priority

The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) brings together 130 of the largest companies in Romania, that cover all major economic sectors, with a total turnover of more than 180 billion RON and our members employ 4% of the total workforce in Romania and bring a solid contribution to the state budget.

If one would take into consideration that each of our employee supports at least another member of its family, one could realise the economic and social impact of our business. Furthermore, for a reference of the figures, the sum of all our employees and sub-contractors would be larger than the city of Cluj-Napoca.

People are the most important asset of our companies and we need our employees to be productive, educated, healthy and happy if they are to continue to create wealth and added value for this country.

We reinforce our commitment to our employees’ health and wellbeing, as an important component of sustainable development.  FIC member companies offer their employees various health benefits, services, programs and campaigns that not only support their health beyond local legal requirements regarding occupational health, but also aim to build a solid health culture and education and assure a safe and quality work environment.

Between 2013-2016 FIC rolled out a campaign called De profesie: Medic in Romania which focused on the declining number of health professionals in the country. Ours was one of the first organisations outside the healthcare sector to talk publicly about the availability of qualified personnel in the healthcare sector and the impact on well-being and long term economic growth.

By all means, we acknowledge that health is now a priority for Romanian authorities and that the total spending on healthcare has grown significantly over the last four years (although it is still the lowest proportion of GDP allocated to healthcare in the EU). Even though the authorities have put a lot of effort in trying to solve important issues in the healthcare sector in the last few years, the sector is still not working according to EU standards.

However, our community continues to be worried about the healthcare system in Romania which has significant impact on the population at large and consequently on economy.

In this regard, we highlight the following facts[1]:

  • Aging population: the weight of population over 50 years is expected to increase from 36% in 2015 to 43% in 2020. To be noted that Romania ageing index deteriorated 39.7% in the last 13 years from 80.2 in 2003 to 112.1 in 2016[2]. Displaying an imbalance risk on future health contribution budgets sustainability (reflected by the demographic dependency ratio[3] growing systematically from 46.4 in 2003 to 49.0 in 2016)
  • Life expectancy is lower than the European average 75.5 (79.05 years females and 72.09[4] years males versus 83.6 years females and 78.1 years males, the EU 28 average) and the highest infant [5]mortality rate in the EU -   8.4 (up from 9.2 in 2013) / 1,000 vs. 3.7/ 1,000 in EU28, in 2014.
  • Difference between life expectancy and life expectancy in good health: a large part of the population spends a significant part of life in morbidity and disability (13.0 years for men and 20.8 years for women) .

All these factors highlight the need for prevention, education, financing, efficiency and quality in the healthcare system. On the long term, it would translate into healthy employees and sustainable economic growth.

FIC believes that any measures regarding the healthcare sector should be carefully weighted and discussed with all stakeholders so that they do not contribute to a worsening of the social and economic conditions. 

We believe that the healthcare of Romanian citizens is important for the future of this country. Therefore, we believe concrete action is needed on two important pillars:

  • Sustainability
    • Reforms should be correlated with demographic evolution as to offset the decrease in the contribution base and related funding.
    • Funds allocated for the healthcare sector should be spent efficiently and wisely; there have been too many public cases where funds allocated for procurement in the healthcare sector have not been spent properly. Funds need to be allocated and spent based on evidence and performance. Although the Healthcare budget has increased in the past few years the money allocated for new medicine and infrastructure has been flat. At the same time, the budget allocated for treatments was established at the level of consumption in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011, and has been maintained at the same level for the last years. Consequently, we recommend the increase of the allocated budget for treatments based on objective measures through extending the contribution base of the FNUASS budget and through other measures for transparency.
    • Romania needs to modernize its healthcare infrastructure and quickly; authorities must accept that the funds available do not cover all needs and therefore prioritization is necessary.
    • There is a need for long term predictability and transparency in the way the healthcare system is funded, and also for improving the legal framework on developing public private partnership in Romania.
  • Quality of care
    • Treatments must stay on the Romanian market and patients must have the possibility to access them in due time as to not affect their condition.
    • Romanian patients need to have quicker access to new drugs and new therapies that are considered a standard of care in the EU; Romania is far below in some of these standards.
    • In the past 8 to 10 years, Romania approved 50 new drugs compared with 650 for the EU.
    • Citizens across the country must have access to reasonable treatments and standards without discrimination.

FIC is committed to partner with the government in approaching this important and critical topic in order to identify potential solutions, ensuring an improving the healthcare system and consequently better productivity and quality of life for the Romanian citizens. 


[1] PWC study “Impactul medicamentelor inovatoare asupra economiei din Romania”, 2016.

[2] Ratio reflecting the population above 65 y corresponding to the 100-people having the age bellow 15 years

[3] Population bellow 15 years and above 65 years corresponding to 100 people having the age between 15 and 64 years 

[4] INSSE release of 11th of July 2017

[5] The recommendations were based on the report “Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 – State of Health in the EU Cycle” (https://goo.gl/ZwnQ3W), OECD, 2016.