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Biopharmaceuticals in Latin America: challenges and opportunities


  • Jorge Niosi
  • Tomas G. Bas
  • Julieta Flores Amador


This paper is about catching up in human health biotechnology. It analyses biotechnology publication and patents and conducted interviews with academics and company executives in several countries. Some 60 interviews conducted in the three countries made clear that public support for biotechnology in the region is low when compared with OECD and emerging Asian countries. Yet, some companies built successful independent business models in the region. This paper is focused on the three countries that have the largest pharmaceutical industry in Latin America (LA): Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. These countries are suppliers for the whole region and are exporting medicines outside the region. All three countries are net drug importers, but local laboratories represent a substantial share of their domestic markets. The pharmaceutical industry is experiencing a radical organizational shift, namely the merging of the innovative and generic pharmaceuticals and dedicated biotechnology models. Such change may help these emerging countries to increase their innovative capabilities. To further such industrial catching up would require increased investments by LA national governments in both public- and private-sector research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Niosi & Tomas G. Bas & Julieta Flores Amador, 2013. "Biopharmaceuticals in Latin America: challenges and opportunities," Innovation and Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 19-36, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:riadxx:v:3:y:2013:i:1:p:19-36
    DOI: 10.1080/2157930X.2012.760899

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    Cited by:

    1. Federico Stezano, 2019. "Industrial and Innovation Policies in the Mexican Biotechnology Sector," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 123-140, March.

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