The latest from the healthcare industry in Latin America, including an alarming OECD report about the decline of well-being in the region due to Covid-19, Bayer’s USD 350 million investment in Costa Rica and Argentina combined, Mexico’s slow drug approval process, and Pfizer’s upcoming PR challenge.


Well-being weakened in Latin America as pandemic hits, data show (OECD)

The COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing many of the improvements in people’s well-being achieved over the past two decades in Latin America, as well as deepening existing challenges, according to a new OECD report.

How’s Life in Latin America? says the pandemic struck the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region hard, particularly the most vulnerable groups in society. COVID-19 has caused a high number of deaths and touched every aspect of people’s well-being.

The pandemic hit at a time of rising vulnerabilities in a number of areas: income growth and poverty reduction were already weakening; employment was falling and unemployment rising; and people’s satisfaction with their living conditions and their trust in public institutions were declining. The report says sharp falls in life satisfaction and social connections between 2019 and 2020 underscore the human cost of the crisis.


Bayer announces 3-year investment of USD 150 million in Argentina (Bloomberg)

Bayer will invest USD 150 million over the next three years in its Argentinian plants with the aim of boosting its production to reduce imports, supply the local market, and increase exports.


Bayer to Invest $200 Million in Pharmaceutical Plant in Costa Rica (Cinde)

Bayer recently announced a $200 million (€170 million) investment in Costa Rica, which will provide access to family planning for more women in low- and middle-income countries. In the Coyol Free Zone, in Alajuela, construction is already underway on a new pharmaceutical plant for the production of long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as hormonal implants and intrauterine systems (IUS). The result will be a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical facility, which is expected to begin production in 2024 and will work in coordination with other Bayer plants around the world.


Mexico’s drug approval “too slow”, takes 4.3 years on average (El Financiero)

The entry of a new drug to the public health sector in Mexico takes approximately 4.3 years. This is the time that passes from product registration until it is available in the public health sector.

“In the 2015-2020 period, the average time for the access of molecules in Mexico was 4.3 years, similar to previous years. Mexico’s approval process is 2 to 4 times longer than countries like Brazil and the United States,”said Ángeles Martínez, IQVIA’s director for North Latin America.


With export restrictions eased, Colombia’s medical cannabis business is poised for liftoff (CNN)

Although marijuana cultivation has been legal since late 2016, for the past five years Colombian companies could only export active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and therefore were banned from the most lucrative parts of the business.

In July, Colombian president Ivan Duque loosened regulations to allow the export of dry cannabis flowers, which accounts for more than 50% of the demand in markets like the US. Thanks to that policy change, Colombian companies are now confident they can compete in the pharmaceutical markets in Europe and North America.


Pfizer strong-armed governments in COVID-19 vaccine supply talks, including Brazil, report says (Fierce Pharma)

Pfizer is playing a leading role in producing vaccines against COVID-19, but new documents released by Public Citizen shine a light on the company’s aggressive tactics when negotiating supply deals.

In draft and final deals with the U.S., the U.K., Brazil and other countries, Pfizer retained rights to “silence” governments and “throttle supply” in an effort to “maximize profits” amid the world’s “worst public health crisis in a century,” Public Citizen concluded in its Tuesday report.

For instance, in a deal with Brazil, Pfizer restricted the government from making “any public announcement concerning the existence, subject matter or terms of [the] Agreement” without a signoff from the drugmaker. Brazil also couldn’t talk about the country’s relationship with Pfizer without a signoff, Public Citizen said.


Brazil’s Hypera Pharma grows, but its profitability is impaired (Money Times)

The company had a 41.7 percent drop in net income, to R$ 201.6 million. On the other hand, adjusted net income totaled BRL 464.7 million, an annual growth of 32.9 percent, and revenue rose 50 percent, to BRL 1.6 billion.

Revenue exceeded market estimates. Hypera continued to grow in the prescription, skincare and generics segments.