In 1989, Brazil created the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), by merging two prior state systems, one for those in formal work and the other for the unemployed, retired, and informally employed. The SUS was intended to provide universal health care to the country, and decentralized the management and organization of health care from the federal to the state and municipal level. The 1988 constitution guarantees all citizens the right to free medical care from public and private providers, reimbursed by the government.

The public sector handles preventative and basic health care, as well as specialized healthcare, and operates nearly 1,800 general hospitals, while the private non-profit and for-profit sector delivers most medical services, including the operation of over 3,400 hospitals. The majority of hospitals are private, but are financed partly by the federal government and partly by the states. In spite of operating with a two-tier health care system, roughly 75% of the Brazilian population depends on the public sector to receive medical treatment, as only 18.5% of the population pays for private insurance. But in total, around 60% of all spending on health care in Brazil is private—a higher percentage than the United States.

In 2012, the size of the Brazilian healthcare market was approximately $200bn USD. Analysts believe that the current positive economic growth and increase in formal employment in Brazil will drive healthcare spending and the expansion of private health insurance industry. Additionally, the higher prevalence of obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer will provide opportunities for various healthcare stakeholders.

Among the healthcare sectors, the pharmaceutical market in the country has experienced tremendous growth, especially the generics market, which witnessed growth of more than 40% in 2011 against the previous year. With several factors, such as increasing patent expiries and greater generic company involvement in Brazil, the segment is anticipated to be the main factor for growth of the pharmaceutical market in the country. Additionally, the outlook of Brazil’s healthcare IT industry is quite optimistic as hospitals in the country are investing huge amounts of money in information technology.

While the swelling patient pool, which is driven both by the demographics of an aging population and the wider availability of medical care, attracts investors (although foreign investment in the provision of healthcare is heavily restricted), complex administrative processes and tax regimes hamper investment, procurement, and care. This necessitates expansion and modernization of the healthcare infrastructure in the country, especially in the public system.

  • Population:

    207.7 million(2016, World Bank)

  • GDP:

    $1,796 billion(2016, World Bank, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending:

    $149 billion(2016, Brocair estimate, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending as % of GDP:

    8.3%(2014, World Health Organization)

  • Annual Healthcare Spending Per Capita:

    $717(2016, Brocair estimate, USD)