Bogota is consolidating its position as a center for the development and export of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in the Americas

Date: 15 October, 2021
Bogotá se consolida como un centro de desarrollo y exportación de la industria farmacéutica y de salud en América

Bogota is currently positioned as an ideal center in the Americas to develop and export pharmaceutical and health industry products due to conditions such as its preferential access to markets, its human talent, its air logistics, its business environment and the incentives that the country offers to develop this type of industry.  

The current context of the world has led to predict that global spending on healthcare will increase in the coming years, from 2.8% between 2015 and 2019, to 4% between 2020 and 2024. In Colombia alone, the growth expectation of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry sectors is even higher than the country’s growth expectation.

In this context, Bogota is positioned as an ideal center for developing and exporting pharmaceutical and healthcare industry products due to its business environment, tax incentives, logistical and human talent capabilities.

It has multiple trade agreements and preferential access to international markets.

Companies located in Bogota not only have access to a domestic market of more than 50 million people, they also have access to multiple markets around the world thanks to Colombia’s 17 trade agreements, which open the door to 60 countries and more than 1.5 billion consumers.

In addition to this, Colombia has the free trade agreement with the best access conditions to the United States, a market that imports more than USD 220 billion in pharmaceutical and health industry products, such as medicines, medical devices, and active ingredients.

“Bogota is a capital with a lot of diversity, it’s a very important Market in South America. The possibility to distribute our products in this Market is a big reference to target other markets in the region”, claims Berly Gutierrez, voice of Beurer, German company settled in Bogota since 2019.

It has outstanding air logistics

Pharmaceutical and healthcare products largely travel by air, to ensure immediacy, cold chains, and proper shipment handling.

In this regard, Bogota is the star of the region, due to its strategic geographical position in the middle of the continent, and for having the El Dorado International Airport, which is the most important air cargo terminal in Latin America. 

Also, Colombia has one of the most competitive air freight rates in the region, above countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and Chile. 

Offers incentives for investment in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry

Colombia offers multiple incentives for foreign investment and business development. These include incentives for youth employment, income tax deductions for investment in R&D+i projects (research + development + technological innovation), and TAX exemption for the importation of equipment or elements destined to CT+i (science + technology and innovation).

In addition, “Bogota Region has six free trade zones with conditions such as sales tax exemption for the purchase of raw materials, parts, inputs and finished goods made by users in national territory; zero VAT and tariffs for imports to free trade zones; special income tax of 20% for users, among other conditions that encourage industry and the arrival of foreign companies seeking to develop and export their products from the city,” says Mauricio Romero, Executive director (in charge) of Invest in Bogota.

Human talent

Bogota has a human talent recognized in the region. It has close to half of Colombia’s professionals with Ph.D., specialization, and master’s degrees related to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry

Proof of this quality is the growth of medical tourism in Bogota and Colombia, which positions the country as the fourth-best in Latin America and 25th in the world in the Medical Tourism Index 2020/2021; and the high number of international companies that year after year settle in Bogota, such as Fresenius, Mindray, Pfizer, Sanofi, Abbott, MSD, among others.

It has a stable environment for private enterprise and foreign investment

Among the countries in the region, Colombia stands out for its stability and safe business environment in the development of companies. 

This is reflected in rankings such as the Global Competitiveness Report 2019, which ranks the country as the best in Corporate Governance and the second in financial system stability in Latin America; the Doing Business 2020, which places Colombia first in minority investor protection in Latin America; and the Global Arbitration Review’s Whitelist 2018, which recognizes the Arbitration Center of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce as the best arbitration institution in Latin America. 

Besides, according to the OECD, Colombia is the country in the Americas with the fewest barriers to foreign direct investment, with fewer restrictions than large countries in the continent such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, or Brazil.

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