Huge opportunity! How Indian Pharmaceutical companies can get in Central America’s Panama Market

Published: September 11, 2019 7:13:59 PM

The bill also calls for the establishment of a national governing body to ensure all purchasing processes between suppliers and private companies are in compliance and quality standards are followed through in addition to timely payment.

In fact, the export of Indian pharmaceutical products to Panama has increased by 54.39% from 2014 to 2018, where the Pharmaceuticals Product export recorded .99 Million in 2014 and .88 in 2018.

By Sandeep Wasnik
Panama aims to become a pharmaceutical hub for the region and the robust economic growth poses an upside risk to pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector growth over a multi-quarter horizon and Over the Counter (OTC) and Prescription Medicines. Despite a small population size by regional standards, Panama will continue to create commercial opportunities for foreign drug makers given rising demand for chronic disease treatment.

Info-graphics shows the Top 10 Causes of death in Panama due to disease in 2018.

An overview of Panama Pharmaceutical Market:

The pharmaceutical market growth CAGR 7% until 2022, where the pharmaceutical market in Panama is extremely dependent on imported products, which make up 90% of the whole, while the remaining percentage is made up of locally produced and distributed drugs (8%) and labelled and processed products in the country (2%). The country’s connectivity, logistics, and fiscal regime are attractive factors for MNC’s, most of which import to the Colón Free Zone, packaging and re-conditioning products which are then re-exported to the region with value-added.Considering Panama’s ideal geographic location between North and South America, great maritime connectivity along the Panama Canal and Tocumen International Airport, which is the largest airport in the region, these factors make it a business-friendly place along with tax and fiscal incentives.

India in Panama Pharmaceutical Market:

India is already a master of generic medicine manufacturing and more than 70% export to WHO. An amendment in Medicine Law 1 (Medicine Law 1: Regulates Drugs and other Human Health-related products) can increase the imports of pharmaceutical products in Panama.

In fact, the export of Indian pharmaceutical products to Panama has increased by 54.39% from 2014 to 2018, where the Pharmaceuticals Product export recorded $8.99 Million in 2014 and $13.88 in 2018.

Info-graphic show the pharmaceuticals Products Exports to Panama from India.

How India can get in Panama Pharmaceutical Market:

There are some facts that Indian exporter should know that the of pharmaceuticals products in Panama has no pharmaceuticals price regulation and Panama Colon Free Trade also offers that all pharmaceutical medicines are 100% import duty-free.

To get enter into Panama Pharmaceutical Market – the Pharmaceutical Product has to be registered in Ministerio de Salud de la República de Panamá “MINSA” (Ministry of Health) which is the Food and Drug Administration federal agency of Panama. To register the generic medicine, the time frame is approximately six months, while for New Chemical Entity (NCE) it takes an average of 2 years to get an application approved and is valid for 5 years. Currently the market for Over the Counter (OTC) and Prescription Medicines in Panama is dominated by multinational companies.

Nearly 60% import of biological and biotechnological pharmaceutical goes to the Social Security Fund (Spanish: Caja de Seguro Social, CSS) which is Panama’s National Healthcare System. The Ministerio de Salud de la República de Panamá “MINSA” (Ministry of Health) and Caja de Seguro Social “CSS” (Social Security Fund) both keep publishing public tenders through an online platform for Medical Services and Medical Equipment.

Rising demand for Pharmaceutical Products in Panama: In August 2019, Panama’s Health Minister, Rosario Turner Montenegro presented a bill to theNational Assembly for an amendment in articles 40 and 51 of Medicines Law 1. The proposed amendments to Law 1 indicate that the Ministry of Health, through the Directorate of Pharmaciesand Drugs, upon a technically based request, may authorize the imports of pharmaceutical products.

Also, raw materials necessary for the manufacture and marketing of medicines, without therespective sanitary registry, in cases of emergency care that arises due to the effects of publiccalamities and natural disasters.This bill will ask suppliers to present certifications from countries with high standards or from organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The bill also calls for the establishment of a national governing body to ensure all purchasing processes between suppliers and private companies are in compliance and quality
standards are followed through in addition to timely payment.

Panama import and Export of Pharmaceutical Products:

Mexico is the topmost exporter of Pharmaceuticals product to Panama in 2018 and has recorded an export value of $168.76 million, followed by Switzerland – $162.57, United States of America – $121.31 and so on as shown in Info-graphic of the Panama Import and Export of Pharmaceuticals Product

(Author is Latin America and the Caribbean Countries Market Expert. Views are personal)

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