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Is MINT the next BRIC?

In 2001, British economist Jim O’Neill coined the now ubiquitous acronym ‘BRIC’, to stand for the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which he suggested were all poised for massive economic growth. Earlier this year, O’Neill came out of retirement to generate buzz about ‘MINT’ – that’s Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey to the uninitiated – as the next generation ‘ones to watch’ in the coming twenty years.
So what does this mean to the healthcare market and to us as market researchers?  With almost 40% of studies conducted by Research Partnership last year having included at least one emerging market, we are well aware that growing economies often translate to growing spend on healthcare and pharmaceuticals – and therefore increasing interest from our clients.  And we in the Emerging Markets team recognise that emerging markets are much more than BRIC, having conducted research in 28 other emerging markets in the last year (including Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia). 

While we were initially surprised at Nigeria’s inclusion, according to the 2012 UN World Population Prospects report, its population is predicted to surpass that of the US by 2050.  As we have seen in markets like India, the sheer number of people can mean countries can be important players even when only a tiny fraction of the population can afford premium-priced pharmaceuticals. 

In the context of healthcare, however, applying a broad-brush approach and assuming that economic growth automatically results in huge opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry may overlook important demographic, socio-political and healthcare system differences that may influence market potential.  For example, the population of Indonesia is overwhelmingly young, so it has a very different disease profile from some of the other emerging markets in the region, such as China. If we look back at the trends we have seen in the BRIC markets since they were so-named, the pharmaceutical industry has faced different challenges in each of them. For example: governmental promotion of generics in Brazil, heavy pharmaceutical marketing restrictions in Russia, controversial patent legislation in India and the recent clampdown on industry corruption in China. 

Among the MINT markets, the political conflict in Nigeria’s Northern States remains fragile, the Mexican drug war is an ongoing drain on the economy, while both Turkey and Indonesia have struggled with conflict arising from Islamic extremism in recent years).  We in the Emerging Markets team have recently seen stronger interest in the traditionally less-feted markets of Vietnam, Colombia and Saudi Arabia.  

Therefore while MINT undoubtedly provides an interesting indication of where future work may come from and where we can consider developing our capabilities, we by no means see it as an exclusive or definitive list of emerging markets that will prove important for healthcare market research in the coming decades.

We will continue to monitor the MINT market, and aim to examine each of the markets in more detail in future blogs – watch this space!

Research Partnership is one of the largest independent healthcare market research and consulting agencies in the world. Trusted partner to the global pharmaceutical industry, we use our expertise and experience to deliver intelligent, tailor-made solutions. We provide strategic recommendations that go beyond research, helping our clients to answer their fundamental business challenges. 

Research Partnership is one of the largest independent healthcare market research and consulting agencies in the world. Trusted partner to the global pharmaceutical industry, we use our expertise and experience to deliver intelligent, tailor-made solutions. We provide strategic recommendations that go beyond research, helping our clients to answer their fundamental business challenges. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/1F7qLGR

2nd April 2015

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