According to British economist Jim O’Neill, MINT is the new BRIC. What is MINT? An acronym he coined for the ‘frontier’ markets of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. These are the countries he believes are poised for strong economic growth, like the emerging markets of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) before them.
MINT markets share common characteristics which make them attractive to pharma: high economic growth with widespread efforts to improve healthcare infrastructure and access. While Indonesia and Nigeria are very much in the preparatory phase with respect to expanding their population’s access to healthcare, Turkey and Mexico are in the post-implementation phase. This imperative to roll out universal coverage goes hand-in-hand with the economic growth that earned these countries their places on the MINT list. For countries to be economically competitive, their healthcare systems need to keep pace.
But in these disparate markets, expanding public sector coverage isn’t necessarily as promising for pharma as it may first appear. The cost-containment measures necessary to fund the expanded coverage often result in a challenging environment for novel products, and pressure to use locally-manufactured, low-cost generic products. Consequently, the greatest opportunity for pharma in MINT at this point lies in the private sector, which is serving an expanding middle class of people who consider public sector services to be inadequate.