Global Healthcare on the Ground: Brazil's Development Bank Leader Discusses the Country's Pharma Future - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Global Healthcare on the Ground: Brazil's Development Bank Leader Discusses the Country's Pharma Future
As part of the BRIC bloc with Russia, India, and China, Brazil is one of the world's leading emerging economies and is also considered by IMS Health to be one of seven pharmerging nations, which also include Mexico, Turkey, and South Korea.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 1, pp. 22-24

Palmeria: In the past two years, BNDES has received a growing number of consultations, both formal and prospective, from foreign companies in the health industry that are interested in the Brazilian market. Yes, we do expect more—and that these activities come to be real investments in the Brazilian health industry. Investments that contribute to the established industrial technology and that contribute to the challenge of increasing the access of the Brazilian public to health products and services will be very welcome.

PharmTech: Brazil's regulatory system and healthcare policies seem to be stable and well-respected on a global scale, which have contributed to its role as a pharmerging nation. What components of this governance structure hold advantages for outside bio/pharmaceutical companies wanting to do business in Brazil (e.g., IP rights, taxes, regulatory approvals, market access)?

Palmeria: Companies that wish to invest in the Brazilian health industry will encounter an extremely favorable environment, especially for projects regarding the abovementioned question. Brazil has a regulatory regime and intellectual property environment that are in compliance with global standards, as well as a scientific and technological base that is consolidated and expanding. Finally, regarding long-term credit, BNDES and other government agencies offer favorable conditions to support industrial investments in production facilities as well in research, development, and innovation activities.

PharmTech: Brazil is known as a "pharmerging" market by the bio/pharmaceutical industries in North America and Europe. How do you view this label? How do you see your country in the global marketplace in terms of the bio/pharmaceutical space?

Palmeria: Today, Brazil is among the 10 largest economies in the world. With a population of 180 million, a vast territory, and immense mineral wealth, the country is positioned as a promising economy. With a robust middle class, a diversified industrial base, a sustainable energy matrix, and a stable democracy that is anchored in solid institutions, the country is clearly on a path for growth—led not only by internal consumption, but also by a significant volume of exports. In this scenario, Brazil can legitimately aspire to be one of the world's five foremost economies.

As far as the health industry is concerned, the scenario is even more promising as it is challenging. As mentioned, the income-transfer programs, together with economic growth, have brought 36 million Brazilian out of poverty to become real citizens able to consume goods and services. The improvements in quality of life of Brazilians have made demographic changes that will give Brazil, in just a few decades, a demographic pyramid similar to that of Europe. Life expectancy in Brazil is currently 73 years old. The change in the epidemiological profile of the populace is also impressive: today, the average Brazilian has more chronic-degenerative diseases than infecto-contagious illnesses. At the same time, it is important to point out the ambitious public health system which covers more than 100 million people. According to the Constitution of Brazil, health is the right of everyone and it is an obligation of the State to provide it.

Our pharmaceutical industry, which today holds the 7th rank in the world, grows by double digits, without indications of slowing down. Projections indicate that Brazil will occupy the 6th position by 2015. The Brazilian government has been stimulating the industry by supporting and financing projects that contribute to reducing the vulnerabilities of our health system—a fact that together with a continually improving regulatory regime have shown signs of the strategic nature of our health industry. Therefore, in this promising scenario it is indeed possible to affirm that, more than having a label of 'pharmerging market,' Brazil is has all the conditions to become a solid and developed pharmaceutical market in the short run, and it has huge opportunities for those that wish to take part.

PharmTech: The growing occurrence of South–South trade is leading to some multinational companies (as well as nations) to question their current market-growth strategies. How does your organization view South–South trade in terms of benefits, and perhaps disadvantages?

Palmeria: From our viewpoint, the increased volume of South–South trade reflects the search for opportunities and exchange among commercial partners with complementary interests. Regarding Brazilian interest in developing a strong biotechnology industry in line with national interests, our country is obviously seeking partnerships with enterprises and governments where this technological wave has been consolidated, regardless of the regions or geographic location.


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