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(2005; 2 pages)
Since the collapse of communist governments the pharmaceutical sector has changed considerably. Previously, the healthcare systems organised the manufacture and supply of drugs centrally and often suffered shortages or surpluses. They rarely developed new drugs or used foreign medicines. The state supplied all medicines either free of charge or for minimal fees paid by patients. After 1990 the healthcare sector was liberalised, the governments' manufacturing and distribution networks for drugs became private industries, and markets opened to Western imports. More recently governments have reintroduced regulation into the drugs market, partly in an attempt to restrain rises in expenditure, and partly in response to joining the European Union (EU)...