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Health Sector

 

Portugal: the right place to invest and build partnerships in Health

 

The Health sector is a prominent, fast-evolving sector in Portugal, which has experienced a remarkable evolution during the last couple of decades.

 

Portuguese companies are internationally recognised as high-quality suppliers of healthcare products and services – e.g., pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other medical technologies –, having high standards of quality and being capable of developing, manufacturing and supplying a wide range of products and services, with high flexibility. A consistent offer also exists in the country in terms of contract development and manufacturing organizations, and producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The Portuguese pharmaceutical and medical device industries have grown above the country’s average in recent years, with a marked rise in the exports to countries such as the USA, Germany, UK, Angola, Spain, and France. In 2014, the value of Portuguese exports of goods from the health sector was EUR 1.216 million, representing a growth of 94% comparatively to 2008. This value includes the export of basic pharmaceutical products (104 million), pharmaceutical preparations (840 million), irradiation, electromedical and electrotherapeutic equipment (12 million), and medical and dental instruments and supplies (260 million), not including sales of e-health solutions and services.

 

Portugal has a vibrant and innovative Research & Development ecosystem, characterized by the presence of world-class institutions and scientists, in areas such as neurosciences, cancer, immunology, regenerative medicine and nanomedicine.

On its basis there is a high-quality education system, which every year graduates thousands of well-prepared professionals in areas such as medicine, nursing, therapy and rehabilitation, diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, biomedical sciences and pharmaceutical sciences, to mention a few. More than 600 of these new graduations each year correspond to new doctorates in the areas of life, medical and health sciences, and medical engineering.

 

Portugal also has a high-quality healthcare system, with excellent professionals and modernly equipped. This quality is regularly assessed by an independent national regulatory organization, and there is a growing number of hospitals achieving international accreditation. And the ultimate evidence of the quality of the Portuguese healthcare system consists on the country’s high-standard health indicators.

Besides its quality, which comes side-by-side with safety and innovation, the Portuguese offer in healthcare is also cost-competitive in several market segments. If taken together with factors such as the country’s geographic location, its climate, its tourism, culture and leisure offer, and the hospitality of the people, for example, these characteristics make Portugal a perfect destination for people coming from abroad looking for high-quality healthcare. This reality comprises both a public and a private component that complement and articulate with each other, thereby making available a highly qualified and differentiated offer.

 

Given the quality of Portuguese R&D institutions and hospitals, including the expertise of its human resources and the high-end facilities, the country is very well positioned to be a competitive supplier of specialised scientific/technological/analytical services, as well as an attractive destination for conducting clinical trials.

One must mention the case of "TRIS-HCP | Translational and Clinical Research Infrastructures Specialisation Platform – Health Cluster Portugal", which is integrated in the Portuguese Roadmap of Research Infrastructures, and brings together many of the most prominent Portuguese R&D institutions, hospitals and academic medical centres. TRIS-HCP can assist researchers and companies (national or foreign) in finding the right partners for their R&D projects, since it makes available, through its members, a wide range of resources, services and expertise in the domains of translational and clinical research, mainly in the following specialisation areas: i) Diseases – cancer, cardiovascular, infectious, metabolic, neurological, rare; ii) Products – advanced therapy medicinal products and biologics, biomarkers, imaging and tracing, small molecules, vaccines.

 

Under the auspices of the Health Cluster Portugal (HCP), the Portuguese "Health ecosystem" is developing innovative projects in areas such as translational and clinical research, active and healthy ageing, eHealth, ambient assisted living, and health tourism. Universities, R&D institutions, hospitals and companies are all working together in the development of new solutions for improving human health.

 

As a result of the quality of the Portuguese health value chain, together with the attractiveness of the investment climate in the country, well-known multinational companies have chosen Portugal to establish production units and/or R&D centres.