Malta and France looking at healthcare business opportunities
The excellent relationship between France and Malta and the success enjoyed by French businesses already operating in Malta’s medical and healthcare sectors, is encouraging all those who are showing an interest in investing in Malta.
This was the most salient point that emerged from a halfday conference organised by the Maltese French Chamber of Commerce themed ‘Healthcare Business in the Mediterranean’. The event was addressed by a number of speakers who dealt with the opportunities that Malta can offer in the fields of medical research and development, medical training and medical tourism.
In his opening address, Joseph Bugeja, president of the Malta French Chamber of Commerce said: “Malta is developing a lot in the field of research and development, generics, pharmacology and this is creating a lot of new opportunities when it comes to attracting more R&D, experts and students for medical training and medical tourists seeking wellness programmes in Malta. The Maltese French Chamber of Commerce wants to assist French businesses leverage these opportunities for the benefit of both countries.”
French Ambassador to Malta Béatrice le Fraper du Hellen had words of praise for Malta and its proactive approach.
“In France, businesses have started looking at Malta as a serious hub for medical research and development, training and logistics hub and as a possible platform for bridging the business gap with North Africa and the Gulf region. Malta’s strong digital economy, its well-educated workforce and easy access to regulating authorities are proof of the country’s openness to business.”
The Ambassador noted that French companies had a tendency to view Malta as a small and limited country. “This idea is changing because Malta has a vision and a strategy and businesses can now communicate with their Maltese counterparts and do business together. We now know that it’s much easier for a French company to get an export licence from Malta to operate outside the EU, in some sectors or for some products, than from France itself. We need to rethink the way we sell Malta to France since both countries can collaborate a lot especially in the medical field. The opportunities that Malta can offer are being so well presented that it makes it much easier for me to sell Malta to the French business market.”
Chris Fearne, Minister for Health spoke about the country’s vision for the development of the health sector in the coming years.
“Malta has always had excellent health services. Today we have an excess capacity of beds, operating theatres and hospitals. This brings an opportunity to attract foreign patients to benefit from our health services. Malta will also look at becoming an important player in clinical research and trials. Malta also has a long history in medical education and this helps us attract foreign students to specialised schools and post-grad education.”
Minister Fearne also mentioned that in the eventuality of Brexit, Malta will be lobbying to host the European Medicines Agency, currently found in London, which will open up endless opportunities for more investment in the sector.
Other speakers included Margot Pisani, Malta’s country manager of pharmaceutical company Sanofi, Dr Marcello Basile Cherubino, country representative of diagnostics and lab equipment company bioMérieux, Didier Bourguignon, Director of Business France Italy and Malta, Sri Ram Tumuluri, Director at Vitals Global Healthcare, Prof. Nikolai J. Attard, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the University of Malta, Clive Brockdorff, Head of Communications, Investment Promotion at Malta Enterprise and Dr Gilles Gutierrez, Director at the Institute of Cellular Pharmacology.
“Malta has a strong role in the internationalisation of the French economy, and Malta and its business community can gain from this by leveraging on the endless opportunities that the healthcare business in the Mediterranean has to offer,” concluded MFCC President Joseph Bugeja.
French Ambassador to Malta H.E. Ms Béatrice le Fraper du Hellen
Minister for Health, Chris Fearne