Top Export Markets for Pharmaceuticals

Mufaddal K.

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If you are a drugs or pharmaceuticals manufacturer looking to expand internationally, identifying the right countries to target internationally can be difficult.  This article analyzes import volumes for these products for different countries between 2012 and 2016.  Based on this analysis we identify the fastest growing and largest export markets for these products to help you prioritize your international expansion strategies.


The data in this analysis is from the International Trade Centre (ITC).  It is limited to the following product categories as categorized by the ITC:

Product Group 30 (Pharmaceutical products)




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis by Region



We can see that the largest import market for these products is Europe & Central Asia (approximately US$ 300 billion in 2016).  However average annual import growth between 2012 and 2016 was almost flat in this region.  This means entering the market and gaining share could be quite difficult.  However, North America and East Asia & the Pacific both showed strong growth during this time period with substantial import volume.  Targeting these regions could be easier. 


Targeting countries in your own region of the world first is sometimes the easiest way to start growing intentionally.  We now focus on each one of these regions individually to understand what countries might be your best targets for international expansion.  High import volume and high year over year import growth are two metrics you want to continue focusing on when looking at countries within a specific region.




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for East Asia & Pacific Countries



Within East Asia & Pacific, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Japan, China, Australia and South Korea.  Most of these countries have strong import growth with the exception of Australia.  In addition, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia also have high growth in imports making them great targets for expansion.




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for Europe & Central Asia Countries



Within Europe & East Asia, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain.  Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Netherlands also have strong year over year import growth.  In addition, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, Turkey and Hungary have high growth in imports although limited volume.




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for Latin America & Caribbean Countries



Within Latin America & Caribbean, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Panama and Ecuador.  Import growth in Argentina and Chile has also been strong.  In addition, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia have all been posting high growth in imports as well.




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for Middle East & North Africa Countries



Within the Middle East & North Africa, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Kuwait.  Most of these countries have strong growth in imports as well.  In addition, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Bahrain have had high growth in imports although limited volume.




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for North America Countries



Within North America, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are the United States and Canada.  The United States also has strong year over year import growth.  




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for South Asia Countries



Within South Asia, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had quite strong year over year growth in imports as well.  In addition, Nepal has had high growth in imports although limited volume.




Pharmaceutical Imports Analysis for Sub-Saharan Africa Countries



Within Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda.  Import growth in most of these countries has also been strong.  In addition, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Botswana, Guinea and Madagascar have high growth in imports although limited volume.




Getting Serious About Expanding Internationally?


Analyzing data is the first step to building a strategic plan for international expansion.  Once you've identified your potential target countries for expansion, you can use our online platform to find local partners in those countries.  Learn more about our platform here and then signup to add your products, set your partnership terms and review partnership offers you'll start receiving from local partners.