San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Drug Subsidiary Settles in Costa Rica

A subsidiary of the Bayer drug empire is making its Central American headquarters here. Bayer Schering Pharma, the result of Bayer’s 20-billion-euro acquisition of fellow German drug giant Schering last year, will begin operations here on July 15.

Its offices will have about 60 employees – mostly from Schering’s pre-acquisition operations here – handling marketing, accounting, administration and some aftermarket research.

“Costa Rica offers lots of advantages versus the other countries of Latin America,” said Dr. Gamal Mikhail, the new head of Central America operations for Bayer Schering Pharma.

He noted the safety of the country, its many human resources and its “atmosphere of investment.”

He also hinted that “there is a trend in Bayer” toward moving more of the company’s operations to Costa Rica, although he added that the company has no specific plans. At the moment, Bayer’s base of regional operations is in Guatemala City.

Bayer Schering Pharma will concentrate its efforts on its cancer drugs and men’s and women’s health products,Mikhail said.

Bayer Schering Pharama also has a line of generic drugs, branded MK, that are manufactured in El Salvador.

Despite that,Mikhail noted that the intellectual property protections in the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) that discourage generic drug use will be important for the company’s future in the region.

“Data protection is key for a company like ours,” he commented. “It will make (doing business) a lot easier.”

Bayer – including all its divisions – grossed around $400 million in sales in Central America last year, Mikhail said.


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