Sales Soaring in Brazil Erectile Dysfunction market
Sales of ethical erectile dysfunction (ED) therapies have soared in Brazil in recent years, far outpacing even the optimistic forecasts of multinational drugmakers. The US-based producer of Cialis, Eli Lilly, has already arranged to shift local supply from the UK to its manufacturing unit in Brazil, on investment of US$10mn.
Brazil's ED market is currently estimated to be worth some US$119mn annually, with per capita consumption second only to the US. Although Pfizer's Viagra is still the clear market leader, and the treatment accounted for 13% of the company's 2004 sales in Brazil of BRL1.6bn (US$616.54mn), Bayer's Levitra is also making inroads. The German drugmaker's product is now the country's ninth best-selling drug, with Cialis falling slightly from second to third place in the year.
The explanation for the strong sales of ED drugs in Brazil has been attributed to cultural and financial factors, namely a greater openness in sexual matters in Brazil and the country's limited reimbursement structures. A study conducted by Eli Lilly indicated that while only 6% of professionals are willing to discuss impotence issues with patients on a regular basis, the rate is 22% in Brazil.
This phenomenon is also reinforced by the fact that the market share of cardiovascular (CV) drugs, which usually top global sales rankings, has been constrained by the government's unwillingness to reimburse such therapies.
Although the multinationals discourage the use of terms such as "lifestyle drug," ED treatments are non-reimbursable but highly popular, with many users taking the drug even though they are not long-term sufferers. As the government is unlikely to extend provision of patented CV medicines to a wider public in the near term, ED therapies can be expected to continue to lead the country's sales rankings.