According to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), there are excellent opportunities for Malaysian retail drug stores that have the capability to expand their operations to Brazil. It said Brazil has a fast growing market for pharmaceuticals with an annual growth of 10 per cent and has business opportunities in pharmacy retail and manufacturing to offer.

Malaysia Trade Commissioner in Sao Paolo Yusram Yusop said the market will continue to expand with the government’s current initiatives to improve access of healthcare services and pharmaceuticals to the population with biggest prospects lying in the rural areas.

Yusram said Brazil has allowed foreign participation to produce pharmaceutical drugs and related medicines since 1920 owing to inadequate supplies, expertise, technology and funds in the country. He gave a tip to exporters intending to penetrate the market to observe the various regulations in importing pharmaceutical products.

MATRADE said Brazil has attracted investments from abroad to produce a variety of drugs and related products in the country. Brazil has almost 45,000 pharmacies, more than 400 distributors of pharmaceutical products and a market value of US$43 billion. The dynamic growth of the industry has also prompted foreign investors to expand their operations in Brazil.

CVS Caremark Corp, the US’ largest retail and pharmacy services provider recently completed its takeover of the Drogaria Onofre drugstore chain, Brazil’s eight biggest chain in revenue at BRL600 million, effectively rendering CVS one of Brazil’s major drugstore companies. CVS said the current pharmacy retail sales market stands at almost US$23 billion, a huge chunk of it being over-the-counter drugs, supplements and generic medicines.

In 2012, drugs and pharmaceutical products continued to display double-digit growth with an increase of 13 per cent in value terms. Analgesics and anti-pyretics, anti-inflammatory and antidepressants were the main products that contributed to the robust growth.