With a population of just 1.2 million and a proportionately small pharmaceutical market by EU standards, Cyprus is often overlooked as a healthcare and life sciences investment destination. However, with the island now on the road to economic recovery following the EUR ten billion IMF-ECB-EU troika bailout in 2013, an air of confidence is again beginning to permeate Cyprus, bolstered by the country’s key selling points: a geostrategic location close to the rest of Europe as well as the Middle East and Africa, full EU membership and norms, a favourable tax regime, a business environment conducive to growth, a large, well-educated and internationally experienced talent pool, and comparatively low costs.
Low government expenditure on healthcare – standing at EUR 1,592 per capita compared to an EU average of EUR 2,797 – has been a persistent problem for Cypriot patients for several years, restricting their access to drugs and creating some of the highest out-of-pocket expenditure levels in Europe. However, change appears to be on the horizon with the implementation of a universal healthcare system – GeSY – set to be fully complete by 2020.
President Nicos Anastasiades gives an exclusive take on the potential impact that GeSY will have on Cyprus as a whole and numerous industry insiders – ranging from heads of local distributors and manufacturers to multinational affiliate leaders and the Minister of Health – weigh in on how GeSY will affect their operations.
Other topics discussed include Cypriot companies’ internationalization strategies in Greece and the Middle East, the country’s tentative steps into the potentially lucrative medical cannabis niche, and how Cyprus is leveraging its “sun, sea and sand” reputation to establish a name for itself as a premier medical tourism hotspot.