Greek Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals industry

Greek Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals industry

Investing in the Greek Life Sciences Sector

Investing in the Greek Life Sciences Sector

With a highly skilled workforce and an established R&D and manufacturing capability, the Greek Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals industry exhibits significant growth potential both in serving the internal market, as well as in expanding its reach beyond national borders.

Greece’s Life Sciences industry has been developing at a vigorous rate, with new start-up and spin-off companies increasingly pursuing international R&D collaborations for the development of competitive, technology-based products and services. Essential to this dynamic growth is the Greek R&D infrastructure, which includes internationally renowned research institutes, research teams and University research groups.

In the Pharmaceuticals sector, the manufacturing of generics has the potential to spur growth and GVA, improving the efficiency of the Greek healthcare system andalso fueling exports and growth for the Greek pharmaceuticals industry.

International pharmaceutical spending trends in recent years have highlighted the significance of lower-cost alternatives to off-patent drugs, particularly in the form of generics. This continuing trend towards generics has fueled a global industry of generic drug manufacturers that have expanded through strategic acquisitions and have developed extensive marketing and distribution networks throughout the world.

The Greek pharmaceutical sector has traditionally been a strong contributor to the Greek economy, focusing mainly on local consumption. However, this shift towards generics can provide a very strong opportunity for the sector to leverage its know-how and capabilities, focusing first on the Greek market where cost pressures are forcing a major shift towards generic drug consumption, but also on European and other markets.

The pharmaceutical industry spends considerable amounts on R&D, accounting for 8% of total private R&D spending in Greece, while 2,506 independent clinical studies were conducted in 2018 (1,434 completed). The role of the pharmaceutical industry in overall foreign trade is also significant as exports of pharmaceuticals amounted to €1.4 billion in 2018, accounting for 4.3% of all Greek exports in 2018. (Source: ‘The Pharmaceutical Market in Greece - Facts & Figures 2018’, Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, SFEE).

There are several Greek companies already competing successfully in the international pharmaceutical markets, with a strong shift towards R&D, innovation and marketing so that they can become competitive.

Investments in the Greek life sciences sector over the next few years will be driven by:

  • the export potential for Greek generic pharmaceutical manufacturers based on the expected growth of the European and CEE market and the competitive advantages and know-how of Greek companies
  • the significant development of new R&D start-ups and research efforts focusing on biotech and life science innovations, often in collaboration with international research institutes and world-class teams
  • the leveraging of synergies with the tourism industry for the development of specialized medical tourism / medical care facilities both for inpatient or outpatient operations and for such procedures as fertility treatments, elderly care and rehabilitation

Why Greece

Regional market potential for generic pharmaceuticals – The CEE market is expected to almost double in size over the next few years, exhibiting more than twice the annual growth rate of the rest of Europe. Greek companies are very well-positioned to tap into these markets, thanks to lower transportation costs and strong sales and distribution networks

Regional Hub for Clinical Trials: Greece has established itself as a regional hub for clinical trials and most major international pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials in Greece. The new legislation for clinical trials creates the platform for attracting more R&D investment in Greece.

R&D and Development know-how – Life sciences research and pharmaceuticals manufacturing have been well-established in Greece and exhibit extensive know-how and world-class collaborations

Skilled medical personnel – Greece has a significant quantity and quality of expert physicians, who are sought after in several countries and whose expertise is a strong competitive strength

Medical tourism market potential – The development of new medical tourism products combining healthcare and holidays is expected to dramatically increase based on the combined competitive advantages of Greece in the two sectors of tourism and healthcare, especially for the Middle East markets which have direct access to Greece

Key investment opportunities

  • R&D investments and start-ups in the biotech and life sciences fields
  • Greek pharmaceutical companies seeking investment and trade partners to further expand abroad
  • Medical tourism facilities combining Greek healthcare expertise with its attractiveness as a tourism destination