Aim To descriptively analyze the policy environment surrounding the Polish generic medicines retail market. Method The policy analysis was based on an international literature review. Also, a simulation exercise was carried out to compute potential savings from substituting generic for originator medicines in Poland using IMS Health pharmaceutical intelligence data. Results Poland has a mature, high-volume, low-value generic medicines market, primarily driven by the establishment of the reference price at the price of the cheapest medicine in combination with pricing regulation and the low level of medicine prices. The practice of discounting in the distribution chain implies that the National Health Fund and patients do not capture the potential savings from a generic medicines market where companies compete on price. This high-volume market has benefited in the past from the limited availability of originator medicines and a short data exclusivity period, even though there are no incentives for physicians to prescribe generic medicines and a financial disincentive for pharmacists to dispense generic medicines. Increased generic substitution would be expected to reduce public expenditure on originator medicines by 21%. Conclusion To develop a competitive and sustainable market, Poland needs to consider moving away from competition by discount to competition by price. This could be achieved by replacing maximum distribution margins by fixed margins. Also, Poland may wish to raise reference prices as a temporary measure to boost market entry for medicine classes with few generic medicines.