UAE pharma market to top US$4.5 billion by 2021 says CPhI MEA

  • Preference for high-value medicines, a rapidly ageing population and the roll-out of mandatory health insurance schemes key factors driving pharmaceutical expenditure throughout the region
  • MENA governments committed to reducing reliance on imported pharmaceuticals and developing local manufacturing opportunities


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 17 June 2019: The importance of the regional pharmaceutical market will be discussed at the forthcoming global pharmaceutical event CPhI Middle East and Africa, when it returns to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 16-18 September 2019, as the UAE’s pharmaceutical market is expected to increase in value to US$4.5 billion by 2021.

The event, which is supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will tackle the growing trend to import the majority of pharmaceutical products to the region and how local manufacturing can help meet the growing demand. However, a lack of planned investment in the industry, compounded by population growth, which in Dubai alone is expected to double to over five million by 2027, is expected to place further pressure on the supply trend.

Cara Turner, Brand Director – Pharma, UBM EMEA, the organisers of the event. said: “In 2016, the UAE pharmaceutical market was worth US$3.17 billion however in the last three years we have seen a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.5% with the forecasted value in 2021 expected to be in the region of US$4.54 billion, above the global CAGR of 5.8%.

According to the Q2 2019 FitchSolutions MENA Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare report, 2018 per capita pharmaceutical spending in the MENA region reached a value of US$75. In the same year, regional pharmaceutical spending as a percentage of GDP stood at 1.0%, while pharmaceutical sales as a percentage of healthcare spending stood at 18.9%.

Putting that figure into perspective, the US was spending over $1,000 by 2015, according to research by the Commonwealth Fund. The UK, France, Germany and Switzerland were all spending in excess of $500 per capita.

“However, the roll-out of mandatory health insurance schemes and the UAE’s growing reputation as a leading medical tourism hub will help drive demand for more advanced medicines and health services, thus presenting opportunities for pharma-related companies to grow with the increased market demand, with several MENA governments already focused on minimising their reliance on imported pharmaceuticals,” added Turner.

CPhI Middle East & Africa is the region’s leading platform, bringing together pharma ingredients, product manufacturers, suppliers and buyers covering every step of the pharma supply chain from drug research and discovery to finished dosage.

Over 294 local, regional and international exhibitors from more than 35 countries are expected to attend the three-day showcase. In addition to the global network of exhibitors, the event is expected to attract over 4,900 participants, more than 50 per cent of which will come from the MEA region.

The exhibition space at CPhI is broken down into five distinct sectors of the pharmaceutical industry:

  • CPhI: Brings together buyers, manufacturers and suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients
  • FDF: Meet with manufacturers from every aspect of the finished dosage supply chain
  • ICSE: Connects the pharma community with CRO and CMO companies and technologies
  • P-MEC: Showcases the newest pharmaceutical machinery, equipment and technology providers
  • InnoPack: Hosts the latest innovations in packaging, integrated solutions and drug delivery systems

The exhibition will also feature Live Pharma Connect, a free service open to visitors and exhibitors allowing both parties to make pre-arranged pharma-specific, mutually beneficial meetings during the event.

Running in parallel to the exhibition will be a range of content sessions addressing the latest trends in the market, a range of keynote addresses, as well as a host of networking opportunities.