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The Costa Rica OTC and Pharma Market

Pura Vida! Understanding The Costa Rica OTC and Pharma Market

Once thought of as a possible location for the fountain of youth, Costa Rica has developed an engaging environment for OTC and pharma companies. A stable political and economic environment, robust social security system, and sound logistical infrastructure; Costa Rica has created all of the conditions that allow even companies to experience the famous Costa Rican ‘Pura Vida’. Sound enticing? Read further to understand how you can experience this amazing market!

The stability and ease of doing business in Costa Rica have made it one of the most favored locations for all manner of consumer health and prescription product companies. The level of political and economic stability plays a big role in this. The government of Costa Rica maintains a fair and competitive environment, with a strong emphasis on the rule of law. This is also supplemented by high levels of modernization, epitomized by the level of information digitization.

As such, the registration and regulation of consumer health and prescription drugs is relatively straightforward in the Central American country. The Costa Rican Ministry of Health, Central Bank, and Institute for Social Security (CCSS) all play a big role in the registration process. All imports are registered with the Central Bank for statistical purposes. The Costa Rican Ministry of Health naturally plays the role of the primary regulatory institution as no healthcare-related goods can be sold in the Central American country without their approval. Finally, the CCSS is particularly important in the case of the tenders (both private and public), as they are the primary issuing institution.

Costa Rica Waterfall in the middle of a green forest

Featured image: Photo by sterlinglanier Lanier on Unsplash

Concerning the Government business, foreign companies are able to bid for tenders through a representative, although it is worth noting that this legal person does not necessarily have to be from Costa Rica.  However, there are 2 additional points to note.

  1. A partner conscious of Costa Rican business culture and practices and wide-ranging network will provide invaluable advantages.
  2. The working language is Spanish, therefore all documents will have to be translated to and from Spanish. Thus it is important to have a reputable partner.

This intricate, but functional system has allowed a number of self-medication and pharma–both large and small companies to flourish. Some of the most reputable brands represented in this market include, but are not limited to: 

  • AstraZeneca
  • Bayer
  • Roche 
  • Baxter

Despite this, the Costa Rican market is still very much open to visionary companies with innovative products. As such, please feel free to inquire with us at the Chameleon Pharma Consulting Group about how you can experience la Pura Vida!


Featured image: Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash 


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