The GCC’s market for European-made drugs and medicines is expected to pass $10 billion by 2020, a new report by QNB Capital has shown.
As a result of the region’s growing youth population and a continued rise in expat workers, the Gulf’s dependence on world-class pharmaceuticals will grow.
The news comes as Spanish drug manufacturer, Cinfa, launched in the region on Wednesday, opening its services to the UAE market.
“Our experience, our scientists team and our cutting edge technology have enabled us to lead the Spanish market and to be present in more than 50 countries worldwide,” said Enrique Ordieres, president of Cinfa.
“Cinfa is now arriving in the United Arab Emirates, an advanced society demanding the highest quality standards. Our aim is to contribute to society’s well-being by providing high quality drugs, with the guarantee of a world class European laboratory.”
The GCC is home to some of the highest levels of lifestyle disease with five of the six Gulf nations featuring in the top 10 countries in the world for the most prevalent levels of diabetes.
Levels of heart disease are also high and the combination of increasing hereditary and lifestyle-related health problems indicate the region will demand an increasing supply of medicines over the coming decades.
Currently, Saudi Arabia leads overall annual drugs spending at more than $2.8 billion, followed by the UAE at $1.8 billion and Kuwait at $374 million.
Many analysts expect the Emirates’ annual drugs spend market size to reach $2.7 billion by 2014 with a per capita spend of close to $500.
Dr. Abdulmajeed Al Zubaidi, consultant cardiologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, said: “Nearly 40 per cent of the UAE population over 30 years of age has high blood pressure, and this statistic is likely to double to 50 to 60 per cent by 2025 according to the World Health Organization.
“UAE residents and citizens must be aware not only of their treatment options, but of the incredible importance of sticking to a regimen in order to reduce this incidence. Affordable, quality choice in medicine can assist.”