Recently released market study: Lebanon Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q1 2014

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Tue Dec 17 2013

This quarter has seen Lebanon become more attractive to innovative product launches due to more favourable country demographics. However, we highlight that access to medicines will become increasingly difficult due to ongoing sectarian tensions, political instability and the influx of Syrian refugees, putting downward pressure on healthcare services.

Headline Expenditure Projections

* Pharmaceuticals: LBP1,956bn (US$1.30bn) in 2012 to LBP2,056bn (US$1.37bn) in 2013; +5.1% in local currency and +5.2.% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q413.
* Healthcare: LBP4,278bn (US$2.84bn) in 2012 to LBP4,626bn (US$3.08bn) in 2013; +8.1% in local currency and +8.2% US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q413.

Full Report Details at

Risk/Reward Rating

For Q114, Lebanon's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR) score is calculated at 54 out of 100, placing the country sixth in the Middle East and Africa region. This score is two points higher than its Q413 score of 52 and previous ranking of eighth. The positive movement is attributed to a higher Country Rewards score based on an upwards revision to population growth in 2013 and the proportion of pensioners in the country.

Key Trends & Developments

In October 2013, Cardiome International AG, a subsidiary of Canadian biopharmaceutical company Cardiome Pharma Corporation, announced it had entered a commercialisation agreement with Lebanese company Algorithm S.A.L. Under the terms of the agreement Algorithm will sell and distribute Cardiome's cardiology drug Brinavess (vernakalant intravenous) in a number of Middle East and North African countries. Brinavess, developed by Merck & Co, has been approved in Europe and the US for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm in adults.

In the same month, local practitioners were cited by the Daily Star saying that alternative medical treatments such as reiki, acupuncture, homeopathy and Chinese herbal medicine were rapidly growing in popularity in Lebanon, However, these non-mainstream medical treatments are not yet regulated by any state laws or self-regulatory agencies in the country, making it easier for frauds to pose as experts. Another problem with this unregulated segment of medical treatment are advertisements on television for so-called herbal treatments.

BMI Economic View: We project real GDP growth in Lebanon of 1.7% in 2013 and 2.5% in 2014. Elevated political instability and the ongoing political deadlock will contribute to below-potential growth over the coming quarters, with exports and fixed investment to be particularly hard hit.

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