Emerging Asian pharma markets poised to show solid growth in 2015: report

SINGAPORE--The emerging pharmaceutical markets of Asia are expected, with a few exceptions, to grow this year and beyond, most providing attractive platforms for investments in the local industries, according to a series of analyses.

Separate reports on 5 Southeast Asia nations and 6 in the Middle East and central Asia predominantly are positive despite geopolitics threatening to upset the markets in some of the countries, according to Fast Market Research analysts.

Thailand has one of the best outlooks because it has positioned itself as an entry point to the more remote countries of Southeast Asia. Japan-based drugmakers such as Eisai already are establishing footholds in the country, which is ranked No. 12 of 19 key Asia Pacific markets.

Vietnam's pharma market also is expected to grow because of its expanding and aging population, but its healthcare infrastructure is strained at the moment, an FMR analyst reported. Cambodia's market will continue to be constrained, but improve gradually as it builds its program of universal healthcare through 2025, the report said.

South Korea and Sri Lanka are only so-so, according to the research. South Korea's growth is hampered by its price controls, one analysis concludes. Similarly, Sri Lanka is expected to have stronger opportunities as it shifts its focus to chronic diseases, but its own price caps, plus a reliance on foreign aid, could limit returns on investments in the local industry.

Farther north in Asia, if the oil industries continue to flourish, just about all of 6 countries surveyed were forecast to grow and attract investment. Israel, not an oil producer, also is attractive to investors because of its research and improving regulatory structure, but its publicly funded healthcare was expected to be a constraint, its analyst said.

Even farther north, in central Asia, Uzbekistan's healthcare sector is expected to continue expanding investment and expenditures for the foreseeable future.

The Middle Eastern nations of Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have their oil, but the energy industry is suffering on falling oil prices, something analysts see continuing in the near term. Each was expected to see a continued demand for medicines and healthcare, however, which swayed their outlook toward the positive.

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