For many years, Costa Rica has designed and promoted a strategy to attract foreign investment and position itself as an ideal destination for companies overseas. With efforts from both, public and private sector, the country has managed to consolidate as one of the preferred destinations for leading multinationals in the MedTech industry.
The pharmaceutical and medical devices sector has grown exponentially. Today, medical devices are Costa Rica’s top export product. According to Costa Rica’s Investment Promotion Agency, CINDE, by November of last year, the country had reached nearly $5bn in precision and medical equipment exports, representing 36% growth on the same period in 2020.
Additionally, 13 of the world’s top 20 MedTech equipment manufacturers are based in Costa Rican territory.
In 2021, industry leaders such as Bayer, Boston Scientific, Philips, Roche, ICU Medical, gathered to discuss Costa Rica’s success and the reasons why they are choosing it to diversify their operations.
Companies agree the investment model implemented by Costa Rica, that embraces “people, planet and prosperity,” has allowed and ensured supply chain resilience (especially during the pandemic) and the recent scaling up of R&D activities.
Moreover, Bayer Pharmaceuticals has praised the actions taken by all those involved in this success. Bayer is now spending a further $200m for the construction of another factory that will improve and enlarge its operations in Costa Rica.
Dr Alfred Merz, SVP of product supply and medical device operations at Bayer, mentioned the company is building a 28,000m2 facility. “During the whole project we really want to follow our sustainability goals, not just health for all, but how we operate the construction site – for which we have already received a Blue Flag award – and how we recycle,” he explained.
On the other hand, Alvaro Soto General Manager at Roche Pharma for Central America and the Caribbean, indicated that the country “offers unique capabilities in terms of distribution, and human talent. The latter point is hugely important since 95% of our portfolio is made up of life-saving drugs.”
Alberto Nasci, Procurement Business Partner at Philips, revealed that the company has managed to successfully modernize and streamline their production process, thanks to all the resources available in Costa Rica.
“Costa Rica is easily accessible from our HQ in the US, so we do not have such a logistical problem of travelling between Europe, North America and Asia as we might have done in the past,” he explained.
Another key point that has been crucial for Costa Rica, is the human talent available. “The high level of education, bilingualism and soft skills have enabled us to positively impact patients and to be able to deliver our purpose of ‘doing now what patients need next’. The strong talent business case here was a natural factor in deciding that Costa Rica will be our permanent home,” commented Hector Feliu, who works for Roche Services and Solutions Americas in Costa Rica.
With a business-friendly environment, a robust Free Trade Zone model, a solid legal framework, an idea location and an excellent and specialized workforce, Costa Rica has managed to attract investors and form long-lasting alliances with companies.