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Discovering Untapped Business Opportunities for OTC and Pharma in Central America – Costa Rica

Central America is emerging as a dynamic new arena within the Latin American healthcare market. Continual development of the industry, along with increased access to healthcare services, has boosted the growth of the industry. In 2015, the healthcare sector was valued at US $17.8 billion, while the Rx and consumer health industry reached a value of US $4 billion, growing at 5.6%. Within the region, two countries stand out for their potential to generate business opportunities: Costa Rica and Panama.


Would Costa Rica fit your growth strategy?

Did you know that Costa Rica is the largest country without armed forces?

Costa Rica is becoming an important emerging pharma market. Last year the total healthcare market in the country reached US $5 billion. The sector’s growth is promoted by public policies aimed at increasing access to healthcare services for the whole population.


Why does Costa Rica out stand within the Central American Region?

  • Strongest economy
  • Most stable political environment
  • Easiest country to do business with
  • Least corrupt country
  • Strong public healthcare funding

These factors make it an appealing business opportunity for Pharma and OTC companies looking to expand into this Region. Life expectancy in Costa Rica is 79 years, comparable to that in most developed countries. Furthermore, over 75% of the population lives in urban areas, which eases access to healthcare, OTC and Rx drugs.

The pharma and OTC market is dominated by multinational and local Pharma and OTC companies such as Bayer, Merck, Sanofi, Stein, and Gutis, among others.

Lastly, access to information, as well as the adoption of healthier lifestyles among the population, is encouraging the use of consumer health products, which will in turn lead to growth in the OTC industry. Nonetheless, consumer behavior is typically influenced by strong relations with local retailers; it is therefore important to work with the right local partners.

Despite the potential of the country in the Central American region, a successful entry strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of the local market, the competitor landscape, and the regulatory environment. We at CPC have the experience in healthcare consulting to guide you in this process. Contact us to help you find the winning entry strategy.


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