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Pharmaceutical Companies Flock to Brazil

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Fortunes can change quickly in the global marketplace. In 1990, Brazil had an inflation rate close to 3,000 percent and needed to borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to keep its economy afloat. Today it has one of the most stable economies.

Pharmaceutical companies have been drawn to Brazil for its rapidly growing middle class, low national debt, improved business regulations and government's expansion of health care. With its retail pharmaceutical market valued at $12.6 billion in 2009, Brazil is now the world's eighth largest drug market, and second only to China among emerging markets.

Some countries are entering Brazil through acquisitions. Novo Nordisk, an insulin manufacturer, has one of the longest track records in Brazil. It purchased a plant in Sao Paulo in 2001. In 2009, Sanofi-Aventis acquired Medley, Brazil's second largest pharma. In October, Pfizer bought 40 percent of generic manufacturer, Teuto, according to business analyst Espicom. The government hopes to grow its pharmaceutical industry from within, according to Espicom. Local companies include EMS, Aché, Eurofarma and Hypermarcas.

GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are both promoting branded generics within Brazil. GSK also announced its alliance with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, or Fiocruz, to develop and manufacture a vaccine for dengue fever.

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