Thursday 9 February 2023

Costa Rica’s medical devices cluster is in excellent health, despite cold economy

Medical devices sector represents almost a third of the value of exports. Companies have increased capacity, personnel, and profits in recent months.

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8 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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The manufacturing cluster of medical devices in Costa Rica is enjoying excellent health, just when the rest of the economy is catching a cold.

“We can be proud that Costa Rica is one of the most important clusters in the world in medical devices,” said Juan José Chacón-Quirós, CEO of Establishment Labs.

Over the last three months, there have been announcements of extensions of production lines, hiring of new staff, and company, by a sector that represents one third of Costa Rica’s exports, amounting to US$3.25 billion last year, an increase of 19% over the previous year, reports La Republica (in Spanish).

Medtronic, the world’s leading company in technology, solutions, and medical services, was the last to announce its expansion, with the inauguration of its plant in the Coyol Free Zone, in Alajuela. The company opened operations in Costa Rica in 2015; Since then, it has tripled its operations to 500 employees.

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Boston Scientific is another that expanded its operations; with the hiring of 600 in June, bringing its current workforce in Costa Rica close to 5,000, becoming the largest local employer in the medical device sector.

The list of companies in the sector includes Thermo Fisher Scientific, which opened a new 1,400 square meter distribution center last May, increasing capacity by 52%. The company is dedicated to the storage and distribution of laboratory supplies, protective equipment for cleanrooms and chemicals and hazardous materials.

The announcement of investments in higher production capacity is added to earnings, as is the case of Establishment Labs, a local company dedicated to the manufacture and export of breast implants, reported an annual growth of 58.2%, on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

Currently, the cluster of medical devices is made up of 92 companies, which totaled 24,600 jobs at the end of 2018.

The United States, Belgium, Canada, and Japan are the main customers for the purchase of these products made in Costa Rica.

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