VENEZUELAN GENERICS SECTOR SEEN SOARING
Venezuelan drug industry association CIFAR estimates that the generics market expanded by 15% in 2004, and will continue grow strongly this year. As research-based multinationals face a deteriorating intellectual property environment -- and a third of all medicines remain under price controls in Venezuela -- the government is looking to cheap, off-patent drugs as a substitute.
Generics already account for 35% of Venezuela's US$1.2bn drug market, and the government is aggressively attempting to boost consumption of the low-cost drugs. Aside from new pharmaceutical technology sharing agreements with Cuba, China and India in last 12 months, the government has also liberalised the OTC sector and unified its drug purchasing schemes in an attempt to drive down costs. The market is expected to reach at least US$241mn by 2009.