In 2009, President Hugo Chavez announced that foreign companies would no longer be able to enforce drug patents in Venezuela. Such a strategy reflects President Hugo Chavez' ideological preference for 'self-sufficiency' in manufacture. Perversely, Venezuela imposes an average tariff of around 10% on the active ingredients required to manufacture drugs, thereby driving up the end price of locally manufactured drugs for patients and negating many of the savings that could be made from such an approach.
Venezuela is the third largest importer of medicines in South America. Tariff levels are around 9%, while vaccines attract a tariff of 5%.
Registration of pharmaceuticals is slow, bureaucratic and cumbersome, and acts to delay the entrance of new products to the market.