Medical Market Research in Brazil
As the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil is a good choice for medical market research to represent the region. The two major cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, are good locations for research work.
It is worth noting, though, that while Brazil is often included in lists of “developing” countries, evaluating products in this market can be tricky. Working in downtown Sao Paulo, and in many of the hospitals there, may give the same impression as working in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
Conducting qualitative research in a focus group facility can be challenging, because of the distance respondents have to travel to reach a central location, and the traffic situation. (We were advised to conduct about two thirds of our work in a facility, and travel to hospitals and offices to meet the rest of our respondents.)
Travel Tips: Brazil
- US citizens need a visa to enter Brazil. Obtaining a visa can take 6 weeks, although there are ways to speed the process. Plan well in advance.
- English is not widely used in Brazil, and neither is Spanish, in spite of the international connections this country has to Europe, the US, and the rest of Latin America. If you want to brush up on Portuguese, be sure to get a book or CD which teaches “Brazilian Portuguese”.
- The unit of Brazilian currency is the real, which is worth about 29 US cents in late 2016. If you want to have about US$100 with you in Brazil, go to an ATM and check out R$350. Here is a website that shows the current value of 1 real, and how that value has varied in recent months.
- Rio and Sao Paulo are 3 time zones to the east (later) from Central time in the US, but the time will differ from Chicago by only 2 hours during North America’s summer, due to Daylight Savings Time in the US. In North America’s winter, the time will differ by 4 hours due to the summer time change in Brazil. Here is a website that will show you what time it is right now in Sao Paulo.
- You may hear warnings about safety from well-meaning travelers, as I did. However, in the neighborhoods where I worked and stayed, I did not see or sense any reason for special caution or protection. As in major cities in the US, I would not go alone at night into unfamiliar neighborhoods – but there is no reason to do this in any city.
- For US travelers, some electrical outlets in Brazil will require an adapter. Brazil has more than one common type of outlet – some will take the two- or three-prong US plug, some require an adapter with two round prongs that matches the sockets in continental Europe, and some follow a new (2010) standard and look like this: