One of the very first former-communist European states to attain a successful economic transition, the Czech Republic today puts across a compelling argument for being regarded as one of the regional leaders in pharmaceuticals, healthcare and life sciences.
In the Czech Republic we have the right balance between sophisticated regulations in terms of transparency and quality, while being one of the fastest countries in the CEE region to grant market access
Jakub Dvoracek, AIFP
From a geographic perspective, the Czech Republic is at the strategic crossroads of Western and Eastern Europe by virtue of a positioning some 350 km from Berlin, 290 km from Vienna, and 1000 km from Paris. In addition to its self-styled role as “gateway to the West”, the Czech Republic is often considered to be a regional role model for social and economic development, offering a comparatively sophisticated regulatory framework for healthcare and strong levels of growth. Opinions remain split, however, as to whether the country can properly claim to lead the CEE especially when neighbours such as Poland have far bigger populations and market sizes.
In terms of modernity, Karel Kucera, CEO of CzechInvest, firmly believes that there is no contest. “In comparison to our neighbours we are the least nationalistic, offer the best price over value conditions… and boast an unmatched quality of life that is homogeneous across every city in the country and more akin to what you would find in the southern German states than anywhere else in the CEE,” he enthuses.
Sharing Kucera’s assessment is Heidrun Irschik, CEO and CPO at Novartis Czech Republic, which recently established a global shared service centre in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was chosen because of its “clear strategic advantageous location [and] the high quality of human resources…which allowed us to fill the newly established positions with superior-skilled staff at a comparably fair cost base.”
What’s more, “Czechia,” as the country is fondly referred to by locals, delivers the sort of lifestyle benefits that makes it easy to parachute in any required talent from abroad. “We were well aware that we would need to call upon some external talent, but were comfortable situating the centre in Prague knowing full well that many of our employees wouldn’t think twice about embracing the city as a comfortable location for their personal development and career future” opines Irschik.
That the Czech Republic is advantageous compared to its regional neighbours, is especially true for the pharmaceutical industry, as Jakub Dvoracek, executive director of Czech’s innovative pharmaceutical association AIFP acknowledges “I am confident that in the Czech Republic we have the right balance between sophisticated regulations in terms of transparency and quality, while being one of the fastest countries in the CEE region to grant market access. Efficiency and effectiveness is combined to a level that provides maximum quality and security for the patient while offering a stable and predictable environment for pharmaceutical companies.”