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Op-Ed: Puerto Rico can revive its economy with biomedical production

The global economic landscape created by the new coronavirus pandemic could represent an opportunity for Puerto Rico to re-insert itself with prominence into the U.S. medical supply chain.

We know that we have the right workforce for the pharmaceutical industry, and the world knows that the financial devastation left by the 2017 hurricanes and now the pandemic has rubbed salt over the wound we already have from a difficult decade of financial challenges.

Our focus should be on solutions that are most cost-effective to lift our economy and that is what it means to promote the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical products in Puerto Rico.

The United States has the world’s largest pharmaceutical market. In 2017, according to World Atlas data, it was worth $339.6 billion, followed by Japan ($94 billion) and China ($86.7 billion).

The U.S. pharmaceuticals, along with Canada’s and Mexico’s, represents the world’s largest continental pharmaceutical market in the world. The US on itself is the largest continental pharmaceutical market with over 45% of the world’s pharma market, according to Statista.com.

Statista, provider of market and consumer data, projected that the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacies together would be worth $318.8 billion in 2020, so it makes sense to seek the U.S. Congress’ approval of a new incentive code that stimulates manufacturing production in Puerto Rico. After all, six of the top 10 global companies report that their main revenue comes from pharmaceuticals products.  

In view of Puerto Rico’s fiscal situation, the survival of many of our compatriots amid this pandemic is at stake. We urgently need economic growth. That is why we support the efforts of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association seeking support from Congress to prioritize the inclusion of our territory in a legislation that promotes the production of pharmaceutical and medical products on the island.

Author Marileny Lugo-Cacho is COO of MC-21.

We can capitalize on our advantage of experience and availability of specialized manufacturing infrastructure and highly trained personnel. We are at the appropriate juncture as this public health emergency has demonstrated the great importance of ensuring the supply chain of pharmaceuticals, biological and medical devices. Puerto Rico also has the advantage of proximity to the North American continent.

With few changes to the federal tax code we can achieve the move of more international manufacturing operations that under normal conditions would not migrate back to the American continent.

The U.S. knows the cost of its dependence on foreign-manufactured products in this pandemic. We can be a solution for both of us.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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