Second-quarter pharma market outlooks for pan-Asia mixed, India promising

The 2015 second quarter bodes well for India, Taiwan, Malaysia and others, while Australia, Kuwait and Iran are not looking as healthy, according to the latest forecasts covering 11 countries of Asia and the Pacific region.

The reports published by Business Monitor International show India as one of the most promising markets in the near future as it deals with introducing universal healthcare. The report also said slow regulatory reform also favors the market, which it expects to benefit from a more than 10% increase (in U.S. dollars) in pharmaceutical spending over the previous year.

Taiwan and Malaysia also can see growth, although not as much as India. Given its leadership in producing active pharmaceutical ingredients and its private healthcare industry, drug spending in Taiwan is forecast to increase by 3.4%. Malaysia can expect a 7.6% increase as government actions increase the availability of medicines, but BMI is cautious because of political turmoil.

Australia's spending is projected to decline by almost a percentage point because of price controls at a time the government fails to get its budget deficit under control. Kuwait faces a volatile situation that could interfere with the BMI forecast of 8.3% spending growth, and Iran still has a problem of international sanctions expected to continue to drive down spending, this quarter a 34% decline from last year. The forecast was developed, however, before the recent international nuclear agreement.

Turkey, although attractive to BMI in the long run, can expect a spending decline of 6.9%; Indonesia's wrestling with applying halal to pharmaceuticals will likely offset its expansion of universal healthcare to drive down spending by 4%; and Bangladesh has chronic diseases, an aging population and other problems. Despite them, the country also presents new opportunities for drugmakers, so it can expect nearly 12% growth in spending.

Egypt increased its healthcare budget this year and it has maintained political stability, leading to a forecast of 3.4% growth, while Cambodia should look good to generics makers as the government struggles to sustain its healthcare and finances, providing it with an 11.4% spending increase, according to BMI.

- here are the BMI reports on India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and Cambodia