Controlling Drugs in Postwar Poland

Slawomir Lotysz


Between 1944 and 1989 the period of communist power in Poland the national pharmaceutical market experienced several dramatic changes. The country was a prodigious importer of drugs following the Second World War, with a large portion of the medicine received being donated by various aid organisations. In the 1960s, Poland became a significant exporter of drugs to the Eastern Bloc countries, but dropped down the list of meaningful producers again after the post-1989 transformation. For four and a half decades the pharmaceutical market in Poland had been a scene of political and ideological struggle. The companies, owned and controlled by the state, were poorly managed, being neither innovative nor competitive. This fact, along with the states irrational and inconsequent drug policy, caused an almost permanent shortage in drug supplies for patients: ironic for a socialist system in which universal and free health care was a basic principle. 

Key words: Drug policy - Pharmaceutical industry - Poland - Postwar reconstruction

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