Report: The Latin American research-based pharmaceutical industry  

Examining the role of the pharmaceutical industry in alleviating challenges is helpful to understand how people are benefiting from innovative medicines. This report examines the impact of the pharmaceutical industry in nine Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Peru) by analysing its impact across two dimensions of value: economic impact and societal-human impact. 

Innovative therapies developed by the pharmaceutical industry have helped to substantially improve the quality of life for millions of people globally. Demand for these medicines continues to grow due to increasing urbanisation and sociodemographic factors. At the same time, the prices of these drugs have been classified as unsustainable by many developing countries and global healthcare spending has rapidly increased over the last 30 years driven by growth in chronic disease and aging populations. In Latin America, as in other developing regions, this poses a burden for governments and private sector actors as they face limited resources while trying to meet international healthcare standards.  

Key messages in the report: 

  • Innovation contributes to the economy through gross value added and employment and has had a large impact in Latin America thanks to the diffusion of knowledge, reduction of national costs and establishment of high-quality standards
  • Pharmaceutical industry technologies and medicines have benefited the Latin American economy as patients are more easily diagnosed 
  • The economic impact of the pharmaceutical industry in Latin America has both a direct and an indirect and induced component that can be illustrated in terms of gross value added and employment 
  • For every US dollar produced by the pharmaceutical industry, an additional 70 cents are being produced in other parts of Latin America’s economy, and for every job created by the pharmaceutical industry, 1.7 additional jobs are created elsewhere 

Although the pharmaceutical industry has a small participation in Latin America’s gross value added and employment, salaries are much higher than in the clothing (5x), beverages (1.6x), and telecommunications (1.2x) industries, thereby disproportionately increasing quality of life and consumption in the economy. 

Learn more by downloading the report and graphic exhibits at  

Image credit: Leon Overweel

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