Three billion people, or 45 percent of the Earth’s citizens1, reside in a so-called emerging market, which includes the Middle East, North Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. Given the major changes happening in the global pharmaceutical industry1, this niche shows tremendous promise for growth. While big-name pharma companies have long trained their eyes on the major markets of the USA, Europe, and Japan – which drew 82% of global cancer sales1 in 2009 – developing nations are expected to soon capture a bigger piece of the pie.

Several trends in these regions prove favorable for our business:

  • Rising demand. Globally, nearly 13 million new cancer cases were reported in 2008,2 with annual incidences expected to reach 21 million by 2030.
  • Social changes. The developing world is enjoying a booming middle class with greater buying power, expanding public health programs, and an increased focus on primary care and generics among health care providers.
  • Positive competitive landscape. Major pharmaceutical companies, facing the expiration of patent protection on their top-selling cancer drugs, plan to rely on new product development and sales in established markets to fuel growth. This will leave smaller drug companies, particularly in the generics space, to meet the demand of emerging markets.

Emerging markets also represent a hot spot for biologics. These targeted therapies have experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, with 2010 sales surpassing $134 billion USD under a 9 percent growth rate. While current sales are heavily concentrated in the USA, Germany, France, and Japan, the therapies’ efficacy and broad applications (including non-oncology treatment) suit them well to the evolving needs of developing countries.

(1)Source: Hill, Raymond and Chui, Mandy. “The Pharmerging Future,” Pharmaceutical Executive, July 2009.

(2)Source: World Cancer Research Fund International