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Lebanon’s pharmaceuticals market up 6.4 percent in 2012

FILE photo inside a pharmacy in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Business Monitor International estimated Monday the size of Lebanon’s pharmaceuticals market at $1.28 billion in 2012, an increase of 6.4 percent from $1.2 billion in 2011.

It forecast the market size to reach $1.73 billion in 2016 and to grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 7.6 percent during the 2011-16 period.

The group forecast Lebanon’s per-capita spending on pharmaceutical products at $297.5 in 2012 in comparison to $281.7 in 2011, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group.

It expected such spending to increase to $402.4 in 2016 and to post a CAGR of 7.4 percent during the 2011-16 period.

It said spending on pharmaceuticals was equivalent to 2.94 percent of gross domestic product last year, which ranks Lebanon in seventh place globally behind a number of small African states where international aid is distorting pharmaceutical purchasing patterns.

It forecast spending on pharmaceuticals to be equivalent to 2.91 percent of GDP in 2012, 2.87 percent of GDP in 2013 and 2.8 percent of GDP in 2014.

BMI indicated that 70 percent of the Lebanese market consists of imported pharmaceuticals, and expected the market to remain almost entirely reliant on imports.

It said there are about 6,000 types of drugs on the local market, with 80 percent of them imported by about 50 firms from more than 508 factories in 25 countries. It noted that domestic production represents 10 percent of the market in volume terms but less than 4 percent of the market in value terms.

BMI also estimated that prescription medicines represented around 73 percent of total market value last year. It attributed the high share of prescription medicines to the widespread use of patented drugs, which account for 66 percent of total spending on prescription drugs, and to the relatively high prices of generic drugs.

But it expected cost-containment pressures and patent expiration to contribute to higher usage of non-patented medicines in the future. Medicines represent around 41 percent of health care spending in Lebanon, BMI added.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 09, 2012, on page 5.

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