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Gov't action plan aims to support drug industry

A government action plan supporting R&D and medical biotechnology in Hungary's drug industry aims to increase competitiveness through the better use of funding available to the sector, state secretary in charge of competitiveness at the National Development and Economy Ministry Zoltán Mester said at a press conference on Thursday.

The action plan lays down short-term measures intended to repair the sector's deteriorating competitiveness and establish the conditions for growth in the long term.

As part of the plan, Hungary wants to introduce “young innovative company” status, which allows companies greater access to support.

At the same time as the action plan was drawn up, amendments were made allowing drug companies to write off up to 20% of their R&D costs from the 12% tax on revenue from state-subsidized drugs. The write-off will rise to 100% in 2010. The write-off will not have a big effect on the drug budget in the health fund, Mester said, noting that revenue from the 12% tax from Hungary's biggest four drug makers came to HUF 6 billion-8 billion in 2008.

Hungarian drug maker spent about HUF 51 billion on R&D in 2008, or 7% of their revenue. Drug makers' spending accounted for about 30% of all R&D spending in the country. Drug makers also made big investments in 2008: their capital expenditures came to HUF 54 billion, or almost 8% of their combined revenue.

Revenue of Hungary's biotechnology sector reached HUF 6.5 biilion in 2007, including HUF 4.7 billion in export revenue. (MTI-ECONEWS)