BMI View: Brazil's commitment to healthcare means that it will continue to offer significant revenue - generating opportunities for pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers in both the public and private sectors. However, the uneven distribution of healthcare resources has made certain states in Brazil much more attractive than the rest of the country.
Since 1988, when Brazil's new constitution defined healthcare as a social right for all Brazilians and a state responsibility, the country's healthcare system has undergone significant changes. At 9% of GDP, with per capita spending on healthcare of USD1,014, the Brazilian healthcare sector has surpassed many developing countries in terms of the standard of healthcare and service coverage. It is unusual that the private and public sectors are of similar sizes in terms of expenditure, as in most other countries spending by one sector dominates.
The country has made significant inroads in public health. Illustrating this, average life expectancy in Brazil reached 72.3 years in 2006, which is an increase of 15% from 62.6 years in 1980. The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics attributes the rise to more practising doctors, better access to clinics and hospitals and greater uptake of medicines, especially vaccines for children. As in many countries, there is a large gender gap, with women (76.1) living nearly eight years longer than men (68.5).
However, the system's lingering inequalities are still manifest, reflecting the dramatic gulf between rich and poor in the country. Many chronic and critical diseases such as diabetes, as well as many forms of cancer, go untreated due to a lack of preventative care. The uneven distribution of healthcare resources across the regions remains a key issue. São Paulo, Brazil's economic and industrial powerhouse, has more hospitals, hospital beds and doctors than any other state in Brazil, and the region's wealth means that the state authorities can afford to...