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CPhI Expert Forecasts "Huge Growth in Middle East Manufacturing with Europe a Medium-Term Target"


CPhI Middle East & Africa (CPhI MEA) expert Madhukar Tanna, Chief Executive Officer of Pharmax, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based branded generic manufacturer, says favorable conditions in the UAE are resulting in a boom of pharmaceutical manufacturing throughout the region. Government incentive schemes to increase domestic production, coupled with a brand friendly environment and rising healthcare needs is fuelling surging demand – with many new companies and plants launching in the last two years alone.

Currently, the UAE imports 90 per cent of medicines, with generics accounting for up to 60 per cent of these imports. However, it has been well-publicised that the UAE has identified pharmaceutical manufacturing as a key growth area, with the number of domestic pharmaceutical companies expected to increase significantly.

Commenting on the MEA market, Tanna said “The picture in the UAE is particularly favourable, as we don’t have a true generics sector – rather just branded generics. Drugs produced by manufacturers for sale in the UAE, whether generic or innovator, are licensed to a specific brand. This ensures the highest quality – for which UAE consumers and insurance companies are willing to pay. The other aspect is that consumers are also willing to pay a premium for drugs made by trusted brands, meaning that in the last few years we have seen a sudden growth of manufacturers. In addition, beyond the UAE there is of course the option of selling into other parts of the MENA region, providing  other high-growth markets.”

Experts believe ahead of the second CPhI MEA event, the opportunities in the region are rapidly opening-up and many international firms are now looking to partner with local manufacturers to bring products to market. As an example of the increased internationalization across the region, representatives from more than 100 countries are expected in only the event’s second edition. This year’s event will include finished dose drug companies, ingredients suppliers as well as contract manufacturers and machinery specialists – who are responding to the growth potential of the region. 

The pharma market in MENA was worth $31.8 billion in 2018 and is forecast to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% reaching $41.5 billion by 2022. Saudi Arabia remains the biggest overall market.

CPhI MEA will take place at the ADNEC Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from September 16-18, 2019.


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