Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The sector is not yet fully developed, and provides opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

Despite the political crisis affecting the Brazilian economy, some segments of the economy have shown growth and investment, including pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, IT innovation, textiles, agribusiness and renewable energy.

Wisconsin companies may want to consider getting involved in Brazil’s pharmaceutical industry, whose retail sales have grown by more than 45 percent over the past four years. Generic drug sales have held steady, while there has been a significant increase in the sales of biosimilar medicines such as those for cancer, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

In 2015, the FarmaBrasil Group, comprising Aché, Biolab, Bionovis, Cristália, Eurofarma, Libbs, Hebron and Orygen, invested $300 million, a growth of 8.5 percent over previous year. Libbs announced that it is maintaining its annual investment of 10 percent of revenue and also opening a new technological center in the city of Sao Paulo, and is forecasting double-digit growth for 2016. Biolab is also keeping 7 percent of its revenue for investment in innovation. Exports are also on its radar in order to increase incomes.

Part of the growth can also be attributed to partnerships between the Health Ministry and private institutions aiming at not only developing biosimilar medicines but also “biobetters” (advanced biosimilar medicines), an area not yet fully developed in this market. Of all agencies, the Health Ministry receives the largest portion of the federal budget, and is a huge purchaser of medicines, as it supplies one of the biggest public unified health care systems in the world.