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Middle East and Africa’s pharma economy to reach $38.8 bn by 2021

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CPhI Middle East & Africa opens in Abu Dhabi as finished dosage formulations expand quickly, driven by government reforms to further increase local manufacturing

CPhI MEA (Middle East and Africa) launches next month as favourable market conditions are driving increased growth across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pharma market – ageing and gentrifying populations, increased healthcare spending, and a modernising supply chain are transforming prospects in the region.

Total pharma sales have reached an impressive $32 billion across MENA as a whole. The Middle East accounts for $20.3 billion and North Africa $10.7 billion. The increasingly gentrified populations in Sub-Saharan African countries and the development of sophisticated universal healthcare systems in the Middle East are providing robust growth opportunities.

In particular, the finished dosage formulation sector is expanding particularly quickly in the Middle East, with a number of plants being commissioned in the last few years. In the UAE, the government also fast-tracks approval of locally manufactured drugs, which is helping to establish a new manufacturing base in the country with the added potential for exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Commenting on the region’s generic sector, Cara Turner, Brand Director, CPhI Middle East & Africa, UBM, added, “Many companies are receiving a direct boost from government policy changes and are building new manufacturing facilities in the region, which is seeing the sector perform strongly. Domestic production accounts for approximately 45 per cent of drug consumption in the Middle East, with generics in the GCC alone valued at $1.55 billion in 2016.”

Saudi Arabia remains the biggest pharma market in the region according to 2017 sales numbers at $7.5bn, with Turkey ($6.9bn), Egypt ($3.4bn) and the UAE ($3.17bn) following closely behind. However, overall the North Africa region is predicted to see the fastest growth rates in the next few years at 7.6 per cent CAGR.

“The Middle East and Africa market is evolving at a rapid pace, and opportunities are plentiful for regional and international pharma companies. However, it can be a difficult region to navigate due to the lack of an overall governing body. It’s one of the reasons we are launching CPhI MEA this year as we believe we can help accelerate domestic international growth. Increasingly, we are seeing a number of affluent and high growth pharma companies emerge which presents ample opportunity to form international partnerships,” added Turner.

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