Foreign Policy Blogs

Brazil: the Next Big Pharmaceutical Market

As Brazil’s economy has taken off, international companies have jumped at the opportunity to provide the Brazilian market with in-demand products and services. Some of the most successful areas include automobiles, home appliances (i.e. washing machines, TVs, etc), banking, and telecommunications. But according to a new study by IMS Health, the next big market in Brazil is pharmaceuticals.

According to the study, Brazilians spent R$674.7 million on pharmaceuticals between October 2004 and October 2005. That amount increased to whopping R$976.9 million spent on pharmaceuticals between October 2008 and October 2009. As such, Brazil has been labeled a “pais farmaemergente,” or an emerging market for pharmaceuticals, along with Russia, Mexico, India, Turkey, and South Korea.

Experts point to urbanization, an aging population and the stresses of the modern workplace as the causes of higher rates of depression in Brazil, and to higher salaries and standards of living as the cause for greater access to prescription drugs. Whereas painkillers and antibiotics used to dominate the Brazilian pharmaceutical market, now drugs for chronic ailments are top sellers.

Despite this, international pharmaceutical companies face tough competition. Drug prices in Brazil have declined in recent years, and domestic generic pharmaceutical companies produce affordable products available throughout the country.



Rachel Glickhouse

Rachel Glickhouse attended the George Washington University, where she studied Latin American Studies and Spanish at the Elliott School of International Affairs. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She spent two years living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after graduating in 2007. She now lives and works in New York.