Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/08/2014 -- Bulgaria is located in south-eastern Europe, bordering Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey and is one of the newest members of the EU, joining in January 2007, alongside Romania. The population of Bulgaria is estimated at 7.3 million in 2013, 18.4% of whom are aged 65 or over. The Prime Minister of Bulgaria is Boyko Borissov, leader of the GERB and former major of Sofia. The current president is Rosen Plevneliev, who took office in January 2012.
In per capita terms, Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in Central & Eastern Europe. The current figure of US$7,502 is around half that found in Russia and is similar to Serbia. GDP is low, estimated at US$55.1 billion in 2013. Real growth of 0.5% is expected in 2013. GDP will increase by an average of 3.1% per annum between 2014 and 2018, reaching US$64.8 billion by 2018. Inflation is expected to average 2.7% in 2013.
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Funding for healthcare in Bulgaria is principally through compulsory health insurance, operated by the National Health Insurance Fund. The role of the NHIF is to provide a basic package of health services for the whole population. The government is divided on whether to allow private companies to operate in the insurance sector. Private spending is currently almost entirely on an out-of-pocket basis.
In 2013, the Bulgarian market for medical equipment and supplies is estimated at US$225.9 million, or US $30.7 per capita. This is a marked reduction when compared with 2007 and 2008, largely due to lower spending on capital items. A slow but unspectacular recovery should take the market to US$274.1 million by 2018.
There is some production and export of basic items, but the market is largely import-reliant. Imports were hit hard by the global economic crisis, falling by 26.1% in 2010. A recovery of 18.6% followed in 2011, but imports fell by 0.5% in 2012 to US$173.9 million. Strong growth was seen in the diagnostic imaging sector, however.
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