Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/21/2014 -- Lebanon's pharmaceutical market benefits from high drug prices where branded generic drugs account for a large portion of the market. The country's high per capita spending on pharmaceuticals, along with increased efforts in providing investment incentives are key factors in driving market growth. However, the ongoing civil war in Syria shows no signs of abating and is continuing to cause both political and economic strain within Lebanon, negatively impacting our projections in Q214
Headline Expenditure Projections
- Pharmaceuticals: LBP2,057bn (US$1.36bn) in 2013 to LBP2,180bn (US$1.46bn) in 2014; +6.0% in local currency and +6.8.% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q1 2014.
- Healthcare: LBP4,626bn (US$3.07bn) in 2013 to LBP5,003bn (US$3.34bn) in 2014; +8.1% in local currency and +9.0% US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q1 2014.
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For Q2 2014, Lebanon's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score is calculated at 52.7 out of 100, placing the country in eighth position in the Middle East and Africa region. This score is lower than its Q1 2014 score of 54 and previous ranking of sixth. The negative movement is associated to a lower Industry Rewards score.
Key Trends & Developments
The price of a vital cancer drug in Lebanon, Nexavar, has been found to be approximately twice that of what it is abroad according to a source close to the Health Ministry. The drug is used in the treatment of thyroid and other cancers and is produce in Germany by Bayer. The local price per pack of 60 tablets was confirmed to be US$3,735 in contrast to US$1,860 in the United States. The Health Ministry defended the mark up on economic grounds.
In December 2013, a new pharmaceutical plant, Arwan opened in the Chouf town of Jadra, some 20 kilometres south of Beirut. The 17,000 square metre building is the latest of several developments seen in Lebanon from drug manufacturers over the years and was supported by the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), which provides incentives including exemption from corporate income taxes. The investment was estimated at US$17mn and is expected to create more than 83 new jobs.
A critical shortage of medication for the treatment of epilepsy is affecting doctors and patients in Lebanon. Drugs are being withdrawn from the market with no certainty of when new supplies will arrive. The shortage follows a scarcity of the active pharmaceutical ingredient phenytoin throughout 2013. However, the constraints are expected to be resolved in the first half of 2014.
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