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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 2012, 18.6% of whom are aged 65 or over.
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 2012, the Bulgarian market for medical equipment and supplies is estimated at US$206.8 million, or US$28 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$270.2 million by 2017.
There is some production and export of basic items, but the market is largely import-reliant. The overall level of imports has risen greatly in recent years, most notably in the wake of EU accession in 2007. Imports were hit hard by the global economic crisis, falling by 26.1% in 2010. A recovery of 18.4% followed in 2011 however, with imports reaching US$175.0 million. Strong growth was seen in the orthopaedic and patient aid sectors in 2011.
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