This market has revenues of 3.42 trillion dollars in 2017, which accounts for 14.2% of health spending. The revenues of the sector were driven by sales of patented drugs by 40%, generic drugs by 44% and OTC drugs accounted for 17%.

Investment in research in Colombia by multinational companies has been minimal. The 50 most important companies worldwide do not have facilities for the production of medicines in the country. Therefore, the Colombian pharmaceutical market depends on imports of medicines, which reached US$ 2.33 billion in 2017, showing a growth of 17.8% compared to 2016. Multinational companies account for three quarters of the sales of drugs.

In June 2017, the National Commission for the Pricing of Medicines and Medical Devices of Colombia published a list of 148 medicines that will be subject to price controls. The number of drugs under price control in Colombia would increase to 978 and is intended to be extended to 3,230. According to the commission, most medicines are designed to treat diseases such as cancer, hyperthyroidism, meningitis, multiple sclerosis and anemia associated with chronic kidney disease. It is expected that this measure will reduce the average cost by 36% and generate savings of 300 billion pesos for the Ministry of Health.

The main obstacles in the pharmaceutical sector are related to the effect of price control on manufacturers, the amount of counterfeit medicines marketed and the regulations on intellectual property (IP). In 2018, the sector is expected to grow by 4% driven by the sale of generic drugs.

Featured Information

  • Pharmaceutical expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 1.1%, below the OECD average of 1.5%.
  • The sector’s revenues were 3.42 trillion dollars in 2017, which accounts for 14.2%.
  • In 2017, the per capita expenditure of Colombia in pharmaceutical sales was USD 70.
  • Imports of medicines amounted to US 2,330 million in 2017.
  • The main countries from which medicines are imported are: United States, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. 


Source: BMI Research - A FitchGroup Company, AFRIDRO Laboratories Asociacion de Laboratorios Farmaceuticos de Investigacion y Desarrollo, AESGP Association of the Swiss Self-Medication Industry