In case you haven't been paying attention, the U.S. currency continues its strong trend while key markets around the world have devalued significantly against the dollar. Some of the this might be deemed the "China Effect" due to the recent 2.5 % devaluation of the Chinese yuan, but perhaps more importantly the downturn in the Chinese economy has also had a domino-effect on importing of commodities from regions like Latin America. Add to this the more than halving of worldwide oil prices, which impacts large oil producers such as Brazil, and you have some of the key ingredients for these currency situations ( no comments here on government corruption!).

 According to today's (Sept. 16, 2015) Wall St. Journal, Brazil's currency, the real, has devalued 45.3 % since the beginning of the year (and more than 60% in the last 12 months), Colombia 's peso 27.3%, Uruguay 20.1%, Mexico 13.2%, Chile 12.7% and Argentina (if you can believe these numbers) 10.7%. Even Canada has devalued 14% against the U.S. dollar. Granted, a number of these currencies were overvalued for the last 5 years (take a look at the Big MAC Index of some years ago), but still this means a great time to buy local pharma companies and gain access to this high growth part of the world, where the middle class is on the ascendency and wanting, among other things, improved health care!

Before commencing your buying spree, check out the World Banks website profiling the issues for doing business in each country: www.doingbusiness.org. Another stop at the CIA's website and World Fact Book (www.cia.gov), provides some meaningful insights on the economies and some key healthcare parameters.

If this doesn't help, take a look at the key pharmaceutical market research company IMS which projects that the Global Pharma Market will be about $1.3 trillion by 2018 and growing 4-7%/year, but countries like Brazil's pharma market will grow from $31 billion to $46 billion annually by 2018 at a rate of 9-12% per annum, more than doubling the global rate. In spite of the economic malaise in Brazil currently, the growth of the Brazilian middle class from some 60 million people to 110 million over the last 8 years, is fueling this growth. Additionally, the Brazilian government is keen on striking a number of public private partnerships with technology transfer from abroad to provide access to biotech drugs and particularly bio-similars.

 Back 3-4 years ago when the Brazilian real was riding high and oil was over $100/barrel, I was counseling my Brazilian pharma clients to look into buying U.S. biotech and specialty pharma companies which were a bargain, but the U.S. biotech market took off due to the FDA approval of a number of new drugs and Venture Capital funds having successful exits with IPO's and then reloading their funds. Now the situation is reversed: Latin America is a bargain for building your pharma business in a high growth region, which may be struggling currently but will come back. As they say: " Don't waste a good crisis"!

Written by: Michael Rosen

About Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is a Global senior executive and entrepreneur working since 1974, experienced in starting, growing, managing and financing for profit/not-for-profit life science and healthcare organizations, and creating life science ecosystems.

Michael is an American who has has lived in 5 Latin American countries, 3 European countries, and Japan. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.