Greece’s pharmaceutical sector – one of the country’s leading export sectors – is poised for further development as the government maps new strategic plans for the industry and the sector welcomes fresh foreign investment.
At the end of 2020, the Greek Prime Minister convened a high-level committee of industry executives and government officials to chart a growth strategy for Greece’s pharmaceutical industry.
At the same time, Greece’s inter-ministerial committee on strategic investments fast-tracked a €51 million project by pharmaceutical company Elpen.
The investment by Elpen follows on the heels of Pfizer establishing a research hub in Thessaloniki, where it also plans to establish a second hub to support the company’s business services.
German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer has also announced an €80 million investment in its existing Greek manufacturing capability, which is set to double exports of the Greek subsidiary from €500 million to €1 billion next year.
Overall, the Greek pharmaceutical and life sciences sector accounts for more than 3.5% of GDP and about €2 billion worth of exports.
According to industry sources, international funds are exploring new investment in the sector and its export potential.
Greece is a hub for pharmaceutical R&D and drug trials, and the sector consistently claims a share of Greek patents far above the EU average. According to recent data, roughly 15% of all Greek start-ups are in the life sciences sector.
The COVID pandemic has also put the spotlight on Greece’s strategic location. The country’s logistics infrastructure – including the busiest container port in the Mediterranean – could further support pharmaceutical exports.
With six doctors per 1,000 inhabitants – the highest per capita ratio of doctors in the OECD –and a network of excellent private hospitals, Greece sees growing potential in life sciences and related sectors. These include medical tourism, laboratory services and senior care.
Currently, the production of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparation are eligible for up to 55% aid for investments under the Greek Investment Incentives Law.
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