H.E. Dr. Amin Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector, Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), inaugurated the Forbes International Health Forum which serves as a strategic platform for regulators, senior leaders, experts, and investors to discuss the future of the local healthcare sector. In his opening speech, H.E. commanded the exceptional experience of the country which puts in leading positions in the international competitiveness index and led to an increase in healthcare investments and an expansion of the numbers of factories and scientific offices, supported by a regulatory environment inspired by the vision of the wise leaders of the country and the UAE Vision 2021, and aiming at achieving highest quality and standards of care.
The UAE health sector is continuously developing
H.E. stated that the country's health sector is keen on meeting the increased demand for more healthcare services, especially as the population and life expectancy increase, which in turn also increases the presence of non-communicable diseases. He added that the healthcare industry remains committed to ensuring the provision of highest quality health services to help implement the vision of the government of providing the best health services for the community, while also aiding in the rapid expansion of the UAE's medical tourism sector. The UAE health model has been a successful experience of public and private sector partnerships through joint efforts by the two sectors, which complement each other by contributing or sharing basic competencies towards better health.
A recent industry report from Business Monitor International shows that investments in healthcare in the UAE reached 62.2 Bn. Dirhams, 16.9 Bn. USD in 2017 and will reach 118.1 Bn. Dirhams, 32.2bn USD 2027 achieving a total growth of 65% and a CAGR of 6%which will increase the health sector’s contribution to GDP from 4.7% in 2017 to 5.1% in 2027.
H.E. also states that the spent on pharmaceutical products contributes with 16.8% from the total healthcare spent, with a focus on new medicine and biological products. The pharmaceutical cost will be increased from AED 11.3 billion in 2018 to AED 20.6 billion in 2027.
H.E. Dr. Al Amiri said, “The market share of the private healthcare sector has increased significantly in the recent years and is expected to grow further under the strong guidance and support of the government sector, which provides the necessary facilities and infrastructure for the private sector to continue in its upward trajectory.” The investment in the private healthcare sector is expected to increase from AED 20.9Bn in 2018 to AED 30.003 Bn in 2022
Increased pharmaceutical exports and imports accompanied by the increase in pharmaceutical factories and medical-related offices
During his keynote speech, the MOHAP Assistant Undersecretary explained that the value of imported pharmaceutical products in 2017 reached AED 14.81 billion and is expected to grow to AED 19.46 billion in 2022. These products are imported from 72 countries, ten of which provide around 80 percent of the imports, like Western European countries, the United States and Australia, Meanwhile, H.E. noted that the value of exported pharmaceutical products in 2017 totaled AED3.62 billion, a figure that is expected to reach AED 4.74 billion in 2022, including export of locally manufactured products and re-export of imported medicines.
In parallel, the UAE is witnessing a steady increase in the number of pharmaceutical factories in the UAE, which is a strong indicator of the growth of its position in the field of pharmaceutical manufacturing and the government's keenness to support investments in the pharmaceutical sector with infrastructure, airports, free zones, logistical support for re-export to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the creation of modern legislation and regulations that encourage investment in this sector.
Lastly, the MOHAP Assistant Undersecretary revealed the increasing number of scientific offices in the UAE--jumping from 30 in 2013 to 47 in 2017, with the number expecting to reach 75 by 2020. The number of pharmaceutical factories in 2014 was 14 and reached 18 in 2017, which is also predicted to increase to 36 in 2020.