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The pharmaceutical industry in Colombia: an engine of innovation and development

by | Jul 5, 2024

Foreign Investment Propels Queretaro to the Top

Queretaro has been buzzing with foreign investment activity, with 28 projects worth over 6.3 billion dollars completed between January and May this year. The Ministry of Economy reports that this rapid pace of investment has positioned Querétaro as the entity with the highest rate of foreign direct investment in Mexico.

Querétaro, a state with immense potential, has concentrated 16% of the 39.2 billion dollars announced as investments in Mexico between January and May. This places Querétaro above entities such as the State of Mexico, Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Sinaloa, showcasing its significant role in Mexico’s overall foreign investment landscape.

In this regard, the Secretary of Sustainable Development, Marco Del Prete, communicated that Querétaro remains a national leader in investment projects completed this year. He also highlighted that these investments would create 7 thousand direct jobs in the medium term.

“According to the Ministry of Economy, more than 6 billion dollars have been announced for the State of Querétaro. As of last week, we were the first place in foreign direct investment announcements, more than 6 billion dollars. That is good news; many of them will be materializing and have already started, but it is good news that in investment announcements, Querétaro is occupying the first place,” he said.

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“Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Amazon executives; we continue working with them; the project is progressing according to schedule, and we estimate to be able to lift the switch of this Amazon Web Services data region for next year,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Economy, 127 investment projects were announced nationwide in the year’s first five months. Of these, 56% correspond to manufacturing companies, 13% to transportation, 13% to commerce, 13% to mass media, and 3% to energy.

A Thriving Hub for Diverse Industries

Queretaro, a prominent state in central Mexico, plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy due to its strategic location, robust industrial base, and dynamic economic policies. In recent years, foreign investment in Queretaro has emerged as one of Mexico’s fastest-growing economic drivers, fueled primarily by its diverse industrial sectors and significant foreign investment presence.

The state’s economy is characterized by a balanced mix of manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, and agriculture industries. Manufacturing is a cornerstone, contributing significantly to the state’s GDP. Queretaro hosts major automotive production facilities, with companies like General Motors and Bombardier operating substantial manufacturing plants, reflecting the state’s pivotal role in Mexico’s automotive sector.

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Global Trends and Local Contrasts

“This contrasts with the global trend, where it is observed that the majority of patent applications are related to the field of computer, electronic, electrical, and computational technology. This is also because the main interested parties in obtaining patents in these technological fields are companies from China, Japan, and Korea,” Patiño said. Indeed, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) revealed that between 2011 and 2021, patent applications from the international pharmaceutical sector registered an annual growth of 3.2 percent, ranking 29th out of the 35 technology fields analyzed by the global intellectual property body.

Leadership in Patents

Juan Pablo Concha, Intellectual Property partner at Baker McKenzie, highlights the pharmaceutical industry’s leadership in using patents in Colombia as a “legal tool par excellence” when promoting research and development of new products and medicines. Likewise, he added that this fact becomes more relevant in a country with no deep-rooted culture in this field. “It denotes the importance of this industry and, simultaneously, the effectiveness of the industrial property system for inventors and consumers in general. Colombia is a country that has unmatched human talent, and being able to enhance that talent by promoting research and development is the ultimate goal that industrial property should pursue,” he assured.

Challenges and Uncertainty

Despite the above, the pharmaceutical industry in Colombia has “an uncertain outlook” due to the recent declaration of the compulsory license of the drug Raltegravir. According to his view, this factor may be detrimental to the promotion of development because it ignores the incentives for developing new medicines. Along the same lines, María Clara Escobar, executive president of the Association of Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories (Afidro), raised the importance of intellectual property and framed it as one of the sector’s short—and medium-term challenges. “Ensuring legal security in the pharmaceutical industry in Colombia requires respect for intellectual property rights, which are key to encouraging innovation. Patents support the investments of effort, time, money, and human resources so that these innovative solutions can be reached that change the course of a disease,” he assured.

The pharmaceutical industry in Colombia holds immense potential as a driver of innovation and development despite the challenges it faces. The significant investments in research and development and the increasing number of patent applications underscore the sector’s growth and its importance in the national economy. Protecting intellectual property rights is crucial to sustaining this momentum, as it incentivizes the creation of new medicines and supports substantial investments. While the recent declaration of a compulsory license for Raltegravir introduces some uncertainty, the overall trajectory of the industry remains promising. By fostering a robust intellectual property framework and leveraging human talent, the pharmaceutical industry in Colombia can continue to thrive and contribute to global advancements in healthcare.

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