Pharmaceutical companies in Latin America and the Caribbean

Generics/General | Posted 24/06/2022 post-comment0 Post your comment

According to a research carried out by Vargas V, et al. 2022, pharmaceutical innovations, together with higher living standards and more effective public health interventions, have been significantly important to extend life expectancy and improve population quality of life in Latin America and the Caribbean [1].

GaBIJ 2012-1 Cover V12b13PA

Pharmaceutical companies differ in the types of products they produce and sell. Multinationals operating in Latin America focus on marketing and selling originator products and branded generics developed by their parent companies, some of which may be produced domestically. Local firms, conversely, use mostly imported active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to produce generic drugs, which they sell at lower prices than imported products. Increasingly, they also produce biosimilar products.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the world's most important sectors and is intensive in capital. The production of innovative drugs is strong in research and development (R & D), bringing an increased expectation of life to Latin America in the last 20 years, but this requires high costs. The main actors in the pharma industry are large traditional multinationals from Western Europe and the US. But new players have emerged in recent years, including multinationals from China, India, and South Korea, and local firms from a relatively narrow group of developing countries. Players belonging to these three groups of firms can be found, to varying extents, in the pharmaceutical sectors of most countries in Latin American and the Caribbean, see Table 1.

Table 1: Top 10 pharmaceutical companies by revenue

GW 4845C 0109C 1 Tab1


The pharmaceutical industry also generates a positive impact on communities, society and the economy of the region. In particular, a direct impact through employment generation and gross value added; and indirectly, through the creation of demand in other industries.

In order to get an idea of which pharmaceutical products are available in Latin America and the Caribbean, or whether they are overly expensive, it is required and understanding of how the pharmaceutical sector is organized and regulated in practice and what is the potential for external and foreign players to meet the needs of the population.

The Latin American Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (ALIFAR), a non-profit international association independent of governments and intergovernmental bodies, is the umbrella organization for nationally owned companies in the pharmaceutical industry in Latin American countries. Currently, ALIFAR brings together more than 400 companies from 12 Latin American countries, representing more than 90% of the regional pharmaceutical market.

The following series of articles discuss the study results of pharmaceuticals development in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Caribbean countries like Costa Rica and Cuba.

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The new section of the ‘Latin American Forum’ on GaBI has been launched. The objective of this new section is to provide you with all the latest news and updates on developments of generic and biosimilar medicines in Latin America in Spanish.

View this week’s headline article: Estado actual de los biosimilares de anticuerpos monoclonales aprobados en América Latina

Browse the news in the Latin American Forum!

Register to receive the GaBI Latin American Forum newsletter. Inform colleagues and friends of this new initiative.


Se ha lanzado la nueva sección del ‘Foro Latinoamericano’ sobre GaBI. El objetivo de esta nueva sección es brindarle las últimas noticias y actualizaciones sobre desarrollos de medicamentos genéricos y biosimilares en América Latina en español.

Vea el artículo principal de esta semana: Estado actual de los biosimilares de anticuerpos monoclonales aprobados en América Latina

!Explore las noticias en el Foro Latinoamericano!

Regístrese para recibir el boletín informativo GaBI Foro Latinoamericano. Informe a colegas y amigos sobre esta nueva iniciativa. 


1. Vargas V, Rama M, Singh R. Pharmaceuticals in Latin America and the Caribbean players, access, and innovation across diverse models. 3 January 2022. World Bank. Available from: ttps:// License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”

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