The value of drug exports from Costa Rica shows a recovery of US$69 million (84%) in the last three years, after the sharp drop from 2009 to 2013.
Income from these products went from US$82 million in 2013 to US$151 million in 2016, according to data from the Promotora del Comercio Exterior (Procomer) – Foreign Trade Promoter.
In 2009, Costa Rica reached a peak in the export of medicines, with an income US$ 337 million. From there they, exports dropped to a low of US$82 million in 2013.
The Procomer says the drop is mainly due to “… the exit (leaving) of companies like Pfizer and Merck Sharp & Dhome.”
Martha Esquivel, director of commercial intelligence at Procomer, said the weight of those two companies (leaving the country) was very strong, because of their volume and value of exports.
The blames legal changes led some laboratories to move to other countries, especially Guatemala and Panama.
Companies like Roche and Stein, for example, are among the well-known firms that remained in the country.
Francisco Gamboa, director of the Cámara de Industria de Costa Rica (CICR), predicts the recovery will not be temporary, as “companies are exploring and shipping to new markets.”
Gamboa explained the expansion of export destinations is occurring in particular in South America and specifically in countries such as Peru and Colombia, with which Costa Rica has current Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
The Procomer expects that exports to increase in 2017, albeit slightly.