Puerto Rico

2020 Edition


Puerto Rico had to rebuild itself – in many cases quite literally – after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017. However, despite the havoc that Maria brought to the island’s telecommunications, energy and water supply, the jewel in Puerto Rico’s crown – it’s pharmaceutical industry – remained largely unaffected. Indeed, in 2020 Puerto Rico and its world-leading pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities can feasibly claim to have learned the lessons of 2017 and be in a stronger position than ever before.

Puerto Rico has a stronger healthcare manufacturing footprint than any other US jurisdiction or State, with 50 pharma and 30 medical device sites dotted throughout the island. This footprint represents around 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s GDP and two of its major exports. Several multinational firms are doubling down on their commitment to manufacturing on Puerto Rico and an increasing number of small and medium-sized companies from Europe, Asia and Latin America are choosing to situate manufacturing sites there.

This report looks at the rationale behind these commitments, how Puerto Rico is innovating within pharmaceutical manufacturing, and the government-led incentives to ensure that this upward trend continues. Other topics covered include the abundance of talented and well-trained Puerto Ricans emerging every year from the island’s universities, the increasing numbers of clinical trials taking place there, the attractiveness of the domestic pharma market, and the challenges inherent to the Puerto Rican healthcare system.

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Dr. Rafael Rodríguez

Secretary of Health Goverment of Puerto Rico

Dear members of the international healthcare community,

As Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico, I am proud to introduce the Puerto Rico edition of the Healthcare & Life Sciences Review, which represents a great opportunity to highlight both the strengths and rooms for improvement of the Puerto Rican healthcare system.

Healthcare in Puerto Rico is of a high standard of quality on par with the US thanks to highly knowledgeable, Board Certified and bilingual medical professionals as well as modern healthcare facilities equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology that must comply with the same standards as in the United States and are evaluated by the Joint Commission.

However, the healthcare system is at a crossroads. While the population is ageing rapidly and healthcare needs are rising, the system is chronically underfunded and healthcare professionals are leaving the island, a situation worsened by the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. To solve these challenges, all stakeholders must work together to find answers in order to safeguard the health of patients. In many ways, the situation presents a unique opportunity to come up with innovative solutions which could serve as a model to emulate in the rest of the United Sates.

Despite this situation, Puerto Rico presents a tremendous potential in the area of healthcare. For instance, Puerto Rico is developing itself as an attractive clinical research destination, helping to address the underrepresentation of the Hispanic population in clinical studies. Moreover, medical tourism is an industry with huge potential for Puerto Rico which should be developed.

I invite you to read this review which dives deep into the strategic challenges and opportunities within the healthcare and life sciences sector by gathering insights directly from the leaders that guide the sector themselves.

Dr. Rafael Rodríguez

Secretary of Health

Goverment of Puerto Rico

Manuel A. Laboy Rivera

Executive Director/Secretary, PRIDCO/Department of Economic Development and Commerce

Dear readers,

As Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), I am pleased to introduce the 2019 edition of the Puerto Rico Healthcare & Life Sciences Review. Over years, Puerto Rico has been a preferred investment destination for companies of all industries, particularly in the healthcare and life sciences sector. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to offering the best business environment through our Integrated Economic Development Plan.

We seek to transform Puerto Rico’s education to foster a maximum level of innovation and technology, benefiting our exceptional workforce, which has developed a reputation of excellence through years of experience in manufacturing. Moreover, Puerto Rico’s new incentives code gives companies more opportunities than anywhere else; all within United States jurisdiction, which makes the island a preferred place to access the US market.

Considering the importance of the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry on the island, Puerto Rico has put in place a dedicated three pillar strategy to sustain the sector’s footprint on our island. We will continue to retain companies that have been present on the island for many years, by providing them with the best business ecosystem to continue investing in Puerto Rico. As a second goal, we aim to attract new life sciences companies to establish a base and do business in Puerto Rico. Considering the importance of the local suppliers and service providers industry, we also put our focus on supporting the Puerto Rican businesses, which play an integral part in the pharmaceutical value chain. Overall, Puerto Rico remains unconditionally committed to support the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry and its affiliated industries.

With the Puerto Rico Healthcare & Life Sciences Review 2019, I invite all members of the global pharmaceutical community to take a closer look at the exciting opportunities Puerto Rico has to offer for those joining our business opportunity. Puerto Rico is ready to do business with you.

Best regards,

Manuel A. Laboy Rivera

Executive Director/Secretary

PRIDCO/Department of Economic Development and Commerce

Wendy Perry

President, Pharmaceutical Industry Association of Puerto Rico

Dear members of the international healthcare community,

Medical innovation is part of Switzerland’s DNA. In Basel, pharmaceutical powerhouses form the core of the cityscape. From Zurich to Lausanne, major research institutions and universities pave the way in science and innovation. Geneva hosts a thriving biotech hub and the WHO provides international health solutions to countries that have the deepest need for them. The healthcare industry is not only a key driver of Swiss economic prosperity, but also a key channel through which Switzerland contributes to the development of innovative therapies for the world’s population.

All areas of medicine have developed considerably in recent years. Some particularly innovative treatments now make it possible to treat diseases that gave us no hope even a few years ago. This entrepreneurial spirit brought by the healthcare industry in Switzerland, as well as highly educated medical staff, enables us to push further the limits of medicine every day.

However, this progress also creates major challenges for the Swiss healthcare system, which must remain affordable to all inhabitants. Its quality and success depend on a complex state of equilibrium. The necessary collaboration between healthcare professionals, health insurers and government authorities makes it possible to find effective and sustainable solutions to ensure that the entire population has access to the best therapies.

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting our healthcare systems to the test. These difficult times have shown that strong collaboration between all stakeholders in the healthcare system, whether private or public, was the only way to address this unprecedented crisis.

This successful combination of a strong entrepreneurial culture and a solid spirit of collaboration – the hallmark of the Swiss healthcare system – will be of great use in the coming years as healthcare becomes increasingly digitalised. The opportunities are promising, in terms of the way patients are treated and the way treatments are organised and enabled. However, there are also serious challenges such as how to ensure data protection. A first milestone will be reached in 2021 with the opening of the electronic patient record, a tool for the digitalisation of personal medical records.

Anne Lévy

Director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Swiss Confederation

Featured Content
Cover Story
A Story of Resilience

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 is a day still fresh in every Puerto Rican’s mind. On this day, Hurricane Maria arrived in Puerto Rico, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the US territory. Despite the magnitude of the event and the disruption it caused to the energy, water, and telecommunications infrastructure, the supply of medical products from Puerto Rico was only minimally affected without any shortage reported.

Facts & Figures

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2020. Healthcare & Life Sciences Review was produced by Pharmaboardroom.

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Report Coordinators: Eugenia Benazar, Asceline Dury
Report Editor: Guillaume Le Maut
Report Assistant: Mauricio Holguin Garcia
Editor: Patrick Burton
Publisher: Laurent Pichotzki-Libano
Graphic Designer: Miriam León


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