Navigating Emerging Markets — Latin America

Latin America's diverse growing market seeks regulatory harmonization.
Apr 01, 2013
Volume 26, Issue 4

Photo Credit: Comelia Doerr/Getty Images
Latin America, like Eastern Europe, is one of the top emerging markets in the bio/pharmaceutical industry. This region shows a great deal of diversity in its approach to pharmaceutical products as a result of differences in economics, resources, access to care, and definition of regulatory requirements by country. Common guidelines from groups like the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur), a lead trade organization, are just beginning to be implemented. There's interest in greater harmonization, like Eastern Europe, across the region, but there still remains great divergence between individual countries.

Jill E. Sackman, DVM, PhD
With its population reaching 600 million people in 2011, Latin America is a fast growing region with equally fast growing economies. The top four Latin American economies and pharmaceutical markets account for more than 60% of the total population: Brazil (194 million), Mexico (115 million), Colombia (46 million), and Argentina (41 million). Other major players include Chile, Peru, and Venezuela (1).

Latin American pharmaceutical sales in 2011 were at $62.9 billion, registering 8.9% growth in 2012. This is particularly significant when considered within the context of global sales of $995 billion in 2011. The diversity of the region, however, presents some challenges. In addition to the fact that guidelines from PAHO and Mercosur are just beginning to be implemented, it's also worth noting that what exists are just guidelines, subject to regional and country specific variations. Other differences (e.g., economic differences, population differences, political differences) have profound implications for the pharmaceutical marketplace in Latin America.

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