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Exploring new private market data sources to understand sexual and reproductive health markets and drive action

Blog | 16 Jun 2023

By Alexis Heaton, Head of Data & Analytics, SEMA

Despite efforts to gather data, there are still gaps in our understanding of products in private and commercial markets. To address this, SEMA partners with others to test cost-effective methods for gathering data. In 2022, we collaborated with Maisha Meds to examine the potential usefulness of export data for tracking the movement of active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished pharmaceutical products. Our goal was to compare this data with other public and private sources to better estimate the volume of products in the commercial sector. Our study focused on two categories of sexual and reproductive health products, specifically contraceptive injectables and medical abortion products. We analyzed export and import data from four Asian countries that produce significant quantities of these products.

The initial work demonstrated that this data can be valuable and a cost-effective source to estimate the size of private markets. It also highlighted that the markets for a few products in these categories are fragile, lacking the necessary capacity or redundancies to withstand sudden disruptions in supply or production. This vulnerability arises from a limited number of manufacturers producing crucial active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and finished pharmaceutical products (FPP) in the market. The export data also shed light on the sources and quantities of products that are not pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are often not included in other data sources.

Accessing import and export data has become easier and more affordable, allowing for access to comprehensive data sets. This data can be used to gain insight into the shipment of products between manufacturers and procurement points. While import and export data is insufficient to understand all of the nuances of markets, it is an excellent starting point for identifying trends such as pricing changes in APIs and understanding volumes and trading partners. Based on the potential utility, SEMA has expanded our partnership with Maisha Meds to build a more comprehensive export and import data set for a broader set of SRH products. This initiative aligns with SEMA's vision for more comprehensive market monitoring and generation of insights to better inform both global and national decisions around SRH market strategies and interventions. 

SEMA is dedicated to assessing and monitoring markets to understand the manufacturing, buying, selling, and accessibility of products within the sexual reproductive health (SRH) system. We analyze the current state of access across countries, channels, products, and financing along the value chain to identify trends, risks, and opportunities for market interventions. Our goal is to ensure that existing SRH markets and mechanisms meet the needs of consumers.