October 05, 2010 09:08 ET

Pharmaceutical Markets in Latin America Reached $50 Billion in Sales

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) - has announced the addition of Espicom Healthcare Intelligence's new report "The Outlook for Pharmaceuticals in Latin America" to their collection of Pharmaceuticals market reports. For more information, visit

According to this report, the pharmaceutical markets in Latin America are worth US$50 billion and growing fast. The eight Latin American markets covered by Espicom Business Intelligence represent a market of 474 million people with a GDP of US$3.4 trillion in 2008. The region is better prepared to face global instability than in the past but economic growth is expected to slow down in 2009 and 2010, after a recent period of remarkable growth.

Access to medicines in the public sector has increased, particularly among the least well-off population, with initiatives such as Remediar in Argentina, PAC Saúde in Brazil, Auge in Chile, Seguro Popular in Mexico and Barrio Adentro in Venezuela. Governments are using their bargaining power to negotiate -- and centralize -- drug purchases in an effort to contain costs. At a regional level, MERCOSUR members have decided to establish a drug price database to compare and monitor drug prices. Overall, public drug expenditure in the region will continue to rise, as there is a considerable level of unfulfilled demand.

Private pharmacy sales are surging, as countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela have higher disposable incomes in a climate of macroeconomic stability. Innovative drug prices have risen, but governments have started to control them, either directly or indirectly. Contrary to what has happened in developed markets, generics consumption in Latin America is low, with the exception of Brazil. Local protectionism, very low prices and high production capabilities have helped the country to develop a sizeable bioequivalent generics market which has proved tough for foreign generics producers.

In Mexico, Calderon's government has started a renewal process for drug registrations, and it is expected that there will only be patented and bioequivalent generics by 2010. For the time being, however, Mexico remains on the 2008 USTR Watch List. The region is also facing a growing incidence of drug counterfeiting, but initiatives are in place to control it.

Attractive opportunities remain in Latin America. The eight pharmaceutical markets covered by Espicom Business Intelligence will represent a value of US$80 billion at retail prices in 2013. With nearly twice the population of Mexico and a GDP of US$1.4 trillion, Brazil is the largest market.

Economic stability and the depreciation of the US dollar are helping to bring private pharmacy sales to record figures in the country. Mexico is the second leading drug market, whilst Argentina and Venezuela each represent about a quarter and a third of the Brazilian and Mexican drug markets. Local producers are strengthening their manufacturing capabilities in order to maximize their export markets, particularly in other neighbouring Latin American countries. Combined domestic production represents about half of the regional market. Imports are valued at over US$10 billion but low exports contribute to a deficit in the pharmaceutical balance of trade of US$7 billion.

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