San Jose, November 8th, 2022. The efforts being made by the government of Ecuador in the face of a level of public shortage of medicines, opens opportunities for the Costa Rican pharmaceutical sector to expand its exports to this market. This according to the study “Opportunities for pharmaceutical products in Ecuador” (direct link), made by The Foreign Trade Agency of Costa Rica (PROCOMER).
According to the study, apart from this shortage, the growing demand for and dependence on imported medicines (66% are of foreign origin and 34% correspond to local) poses possible opportunities for Costa Rican products. The Trade Association Agreement between Costa Rica and Ecuador represents a potential facilitator to consolidate, expand and generate new business between both countries.
Among the sectors with the greatest opportunities, the following stand out: pediatric products due to the main causes of infant mortality (conditions originating in the prenatal period, congenital malformations and influenza and pneumonia), as well as cardiological, psychiatric, oncological and diabetic treatments for other segments of the adult population. These represent the main causes of death in Ecuadorian inhabitants,
In Ecuador, manufacturers of pharmaceutical products are mainly dedicated to generic drugs that treat cardiovascular diseases, oncology, chronic pathologies, among others, where the public sector is the main applicant.
Marta Esquivel, director of Planning and Commercial Intelligence at The Foreign Trade Agency of Costa Rica, stated that personal spending on health in Ecuador is forecast to increase by 4% between 2022 and 2025, given the result of the limited capacity of the public system to cover the requirement of medicines, free or subsidized; which has forced the population to acquire medicines and medical supplies through the private sector.
The study highlights that Costa Rica has a supply of generic drugs with successful experience in Ecuador, whose business model has been through representation in the country. In 2022, Costa Rica has 126 drugs registered with the National Agency for Sanitary Regulation, Control and Surveillance (ARCSA).
In regulatory matters, it is important that Costa Rican exporters take into consideration compliance with the requirements and regulations established by Ecuador, as well as knowing there is a maximum price for sale to the public that is set for the active ingredient of each medication”, explained Karolina Ramírez , economic analyst in charge of the study.
Ecuador has a population of 18 million people, 49% are under 19 years old and 45% are over 50 years old (data as of 2021), with a trend towards lower fertility rates and life expectancy of 77 years of age.
48% of the Ecuadorian population does not have any Social Security, the rest is served by the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion and the municipalities (35%), the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (10%), and others (7%).
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