The Brazilian healthcare industry is on the rise. Over the past decade, millions of Brazilians have made it to the middle class, consolidating Brazil as one of the largest consumer markets in the world. The increase in consumers' purchasing power, a willingness to pay for better healthcare services and an expanding elderly population, among other factors, have prompted expectations that the Brazilian healthcare industry will continue to experience substantial growth within the next few years, notwithstanding the slow pace of the overall economy.

Until now, the healthcare industry was one of the few sectors of the Brazilian economy that was not open to foreign investments. In an effort to bring more foreign investments to Brazil, the Brazilian government has lifted this longstanding ban.

On January 19, 2015 Federal Law 13,097 was enacted to expressly authorize foreigners to acquire, directly or indirectly, equity interests, including controlling ones, in legal entities carrying out the following activities in Brazil: (1) running hospitals, clinics and laboratories; (2) production and distribution of medicines and other health products; (3) research and services related to human genetics; (4) clinical analysis, diagnostic imaging and analysis of anatomical pathology; and (5) family planning.

This is good news for the international private equity & venture capital community, which now has a new open field for investments in Brazil, with encouraging prospects of returns.

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