OBJECTIVES To describe the pharmaceutical drug market in Mexico in terms of its size, structure, business' market power, and consumer negotiating power. METHODS A descriptive study based on data from the 2004 Economics Census and the reports of IMS Health, Inc. (Norwalk, Connecticut, United States of America). Sales amounts and volumes of Mexico's pharmaceutical companies from 2002-2005 were obtained and the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) and its inverse were calculated as indicators of the market's degree of concentration; also, price elasticity was determined by a product index. RESULTS The total value of the products manufactured by the pharmaceutical sector was 115 billion in 2006 Mexican pesos, of which 99% pertained to companies categorized as large. This amount constituted 1.2% of the national gross domestic product that year (20.0% of the health sector's portion, estimated to be 6.0%) and 3.9% of the total value of manufactured goods. The HHI of Mexico's pharmaceutical market during the study period was about 0.04, albeit with a steady decline, and its inverse decreased from 23 to 26. The price elasticity of pharmaceutical products was minimal (0.007, 0.003, and -0.002). CONCLUSIONS This study constitutes a preliminary description of Mexico's pharmaceutical market, one of the country's most dynamic economic sectors. It confirmed that the market is a rigid oligopoly, and thus supports enactment of firmer regulatory tools to reduce the power of the manufacturers in favor of that of the consumers.