2019 Developments in Latin America’s Pharmaceutical Market

In the past, we’ve reported on the strong projected growth for Latin America’s pharmaceutical market, including specialty drugs for common conditions such as diabetes. But when you look at the different markets within the region, they each have their own challenges and developments. We decided to highlight some key recent developments to help pharmaceutical industry professionals have a quick understanding of what’s happening in different markets.


  • ANMAT (Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Técnología Médica) recently approved an anti-obesity medication called liraglutide that’s administered daily via an injectable pen. Liraglutide (sold under the brand name Victoza in many markets) has been shown to produce significant weight loss benefits.
  • ANMAT also approved another medication — one of the most expensive in the world. Spinraza is used to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare neuromuscular disorder. Spinraza has shown to be effective against 3 of the types of SMA, but the first year of treatment can cost $600,000 and the second year can cost up to $300,000.
  • PharmaDorf arrived in Argentina in 2016 and recently has beefed up its sales structure by 40%, projecting to double its investment in the Argentine market in 2019, as well as its sales. The company is mostly focused on women’s health, respiratory, cardiovascular and neuroscience. Some of its brands include Avancel, Livianne, Drolzen, Tritace and Cervilane.
  • Argentine pharma firm Laboratorios Bagó has become a leader in the Chinese market, with a 45% market share of the amoxicillin-sulbactam antibiotics market. Bagó has been exporting to China for 20 years and grew from selling 150,000 units of its products to 4.2 million units in 2018.



  • Brazil has made strides in cancer treatment with the recent approval of 4 new cancer medications. These include Lenvima (lenvatnib mesylate) for renal cancer, Lynparza (olaparib) for ovarian cancer, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for skin cancer and Blincyto (blinatumomabe) for leukemia.
  • These are far from the only recent cancer breakthroughs in Brazil. Biological medicine is an up-and-coming cancer treatment that doesn’t have as many side effects as chemotherapy, and Mvasi (bevacizumabe) has now joined the ranks of biological medicines that are approved in Brazil for treating colorectal cancer, breast cancer and more.



  • Unfortunately, there is some bad news out of Chile, where recent research indicates that medicine is significantly more expensive than in other Latin America markets. Some drugs, in fact, are up to 24 times more costly than they are elsewhere in the region.



  • While most pharmaceutical news focuses on increasing drug prices, the cost of many drugs in Colombia is going down. This is due to the passage of a law known as Circular 7, which is intended to lower the price of medications to more reasonable levels.



  • Hepatitis C treatments took a major step forward in Mexico with the approval of Mavyret. This drug can treat all genotypes of hepatitis C and is more effective than many other hep C treatments.
  • Finally, major strides have been made by Mexico’s health regulatory agency, Cofepris, to approve a wide variety of medical devices and drugs. Recently, over 13,000 requests have been approved, including some that had been delayed since 2007.



  • Pharmaceuticals remain big business in the Dominican Republic, with annual revenue generation of $628 million, movement of 50 million units, and, most important, more than 20,000 jobs in the area. It’s also projected to show growth between 20 and 30 percent over the next year.




  • Pharmaceutical giant Bayer has had a business presence in Guatemala that stretches back more than 50 years. They recently invested even more in that relationship with a $41.5 million boost to the region in the form of upgrades and expansions to their Consumer Health plant.




  • Mexico isn’t the only country where Novartis is making waves. With a $4 million investment in Panama, Novartis plans to help more patients with affordably priced medication through their emerging market brands.








Next Steps

Understanding the medical procedures performed in Latin America can help you gauge demand for pharmaceutical products or medical equipment/devices. Contact us to request a demo of SurgiScope, our database of medical procedures performed in LatAm. You can also gain insights into specific markets through our InScope service.

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