Industry Trend Analysis - Cardiovascular Diseases Dominate Epidemiological Profile - NOV 2017

BMI View: The epidemiological profile of Argentina ' s population presents considerable opportunities for drugmakers active in the region. Unhealthy diet and a high prevalence of tobacco consumption reflect the population's lifestyle habits that will continue to drive the burden of non-communicable diseases. Although Mexico and Brazil represent larger markets on account of bigger populations, Argentina will remain a major market within the LatAm region.

Argentina's epidemiological profile is dominated by non-communicable diseases, accounting for approximately four fifths of all disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), a metric that reflects the population's burden of disease. The other fifth is roughly shared evenly between injuries and communicable diseases.

As seen in the vast majority of developed and emerging markets, cardiovascular diseases and cancers are the most significant contributors to the overall burden of disease, together accounting for just shy of one third of all DALYs in 2016. After cardiovascular diseases and cancers, mental and behavioural disorders (such as depressive disorders) and musculoskeletal disorders (such as arthritis and back pain). Through to 2030, Argentina's burden of disease is forecast to increase by almost 20%. While the burden of communicable diseases is forecast to decline slightly, the incidence of cancers will increase sharply. This will primarily be driven by the growth of the population, which is set to increase from an estimated 43.85mn in 2016 to 49.32mn by 2030.

Non-Communicable Diseases DOminate
Argentina - Burden of Disease Breakdown (DALYs)
f = forecast. DALYs = disability-adjusted life years. Source: BMI's Disease Database

Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases are the most significant disease area within the Argentinian epidemiological profile. After the more populous Mexico and Brazil, Argentina represents the largest opportunity for drugmakers within this therapeutic field in the Latin America (LatAm) region (see ' Significant Opportunities For Cardiovascular Diseases', April 5 2017). The prevalence of these diseases is driven by behavioural risk factors such as poor diet and insufficient physical activity.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Argentinians have an above-average smoking prevalence on both a regional and global level, and the proportion of energy generated from fat in the Argentinian diet (indicative of an unhealthy diet) is also above both regional and global averages. This combination of poor lifestyle habits, leading to high levels of blood cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity results in a considerable risk of cardiovascular diseases, notably heart disease and stroke.

We note that the burden of cardiovascular diseases is forecast to stay relatively stable over the forecast period, according to BMI's Disease Database. This is due to the increasing focus on preventative medicines, increasing disease awareness and greater focus on improved diet and increased exercise.

Poor Lifestyle Habits Leading To Elevated Risk Factors
Prevalence Of High Cholesterol (%, LHS) & Obesity (%, RHS)
Note: Red line = Global Average ; Global average for high cholesterol = 39.2%; global average prevalence for obesity = 16.0% ; Obesity is defined as body mass index [?] 30; high blood cholesterol is defined as [?] 5.0mmol/L Source: WHO, BMI.


Due to ever-increasing life expectancies resulting from improvements in healthcare quality coupled to the rising prevalence of risk factors from changing lifestyle habits, the incidence of cancers has seen a steady incline across both emerging and developed markets globally. Argentina is no exception. As highlighted above, the Argentinian population has amongst the worst diets in the LatAm region, which has led to numerous secondary indicators that are contributing factors towards cardiovascular diseases; however many of the same indicators also lead to a higher risk of cancer.

Among men, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers are the most dominant, accounting for almost half of all cancers according to data from Globocan. Among women, breast cancer dominates (32.2% total incidence), followed by colorectal (10.5%), uterine (8.2%) and lung cancer (5.9%). The incidence of cancers will continue to increase in Argentina over the long term - by almost 40% to 2030 according to Globocan. The majority of new cases will come from men over the age of 65.


Given the large population of Argentina with respect to its regional peers - only Brazil and Mexico are more populous - there are significant opportunities in other therapeutic areas, such as diabetes. While we have previously outlined the opportunities for diabetes medicines in the LatAm region, noting that Mexico and Brazil were the core markets due to their size ( see ' Regional Diabetes Treatment Demand To Be Driven By Two Markets ' , May 30 2017), the aforementioned poor diet of the Argentinian population presents a considerable risk of increased diabetes incidence.

There were approximately 1.7mn adults with diabetes in 2015, a prevalence of 6.2% according to data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Only Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela have larger diabetic populations. According to BMI's Disease Database, the burden of diabetes is set to rise significantly over the long term, boosted by the rising population and continuation of poor lifestyle habits.