Mexico: Expiring Drug Patents Boost Hiring in Biotechnology

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Mexico has a winning strategy for the development, production and distribution of generic drugs. The region boasts the largest penetration of generic drugs of any country on the globe with 84% in 2013, up from 50% in 2010. Reports for 2012 estimated Mexican generic drug sales revenue at $3.4 billion, or 2% of the world market. Projections that growth between 2012 and 2018 will be approximately 12.6% annually would garner revenues of $6.8 billion. This massive growth observed in the Mexican generic drug segment is being supported by the expiry of a number of drug patents, improvements regarding the production of counterfeit drugs and new laws around bio-equivalence.

Both transnational and Mexican pharmaceutical companies are being encouraged to release affordable generic medicines into the domestic market by the government. In an effort to control costs, large multinational laboratories are creating alliances with smaller laboratories dedicated to research who are eager to gain financial support. These smaller laboratories are mostly dedicated to research, especially in the field of biotechnology. Approximately 80% of domestic sales are from domestic production while Mexico also supplies a large volume of exports to countries such as the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama. To further stimulate both the export and local production of pharmaceuticals in the region, the government is attempting to develop “biotech clusters” similar to those in Switzerland where universities, researchers and companies from the private sector work together to further developments in new biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

Mexico ranked in the top five in the Americas in the most recent ManpowerGroup Solutions Contingent Workforce Index (CWI) for workforce availability and workforce cost efficiency. Mexico hosts the second largest contingent workforce with one third of those workers being skilled. In the Americas region, Mexico also claims the 5th highest percentage of English speakers which weighs heavily in their favor, especially where biotechnology and the collaboration between countries and companies is concerned. While partial parity is now required for Mexican contingent workers, lower than average overtime premiums, one of the lowest minimum wages in the region and an average wage which is approximately half of the regional average, boosts Mexico to the top of the list for cost efficiency. While the second lowest combined holiday and/or annual leave days in the region allow for the potential of higher productivity.

Overall, the employment outlook in Mexico is 1% higher than the regional average, which is at 10% nationally across all sectors. Recent data suggests that skilled pharmaceutical project managers, clinical research associates, regulatory and compliance specialists and clinical research associates are actively being sought throughout the region. Projections suggest however, that hiring in the biotechnology sector will increase at a higher rate. This is due to more drug patents expiring internationally and the production of generic low cost drugs continuing to grow in volume during the latter half of this decade.