We look at three of the most important regulatory trends in UAE healthcare and the impact they stand to have on pharma multinationals, local firms, service providers, and patients.


There are several regulatory bodies in the UAE, including the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, aka, the Department of Health (HAAD/DoH). Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE) is largely regulated by HAAD, while Dubai is under the supervision of the DHA. MOHAP acts as an umbrella over the two organizations and administers healthcare and hospitals in both the public and private sectors, acquires medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, drug certification and control, as well as licenses doctors and private clinics throughout the nation.


More MOHAP Inspections

The role of MOHAP is to provide healthcare that is reactive to the evolving needs of individuals and that falls in line with the development and future vision of the state.

Although 52 new medical facilities were opened in 2017, MOHAP has been cracking down on the private healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors with increased inspections, ensuring organizations are complying with the country’s rules and regulations. This resulted in 42 pharmaceutical companies being shut down in the same year


A Reforming DHA

The DHA is at the forefront of Dubai’s Health Strategy 2016-2021, which aims to transform Dubai into a leading healthcare destination by fostering innovative and integrated care models and enhancing community engagement.

The DHA operates both as a regulatory body for Dubai’s healthcare sector and an operator of all public healthcare facilities. Three of the DHA’s top achievements to date have been enforcing a more straightforward medical regulation process to align with international standards, the enforcement of mandatory health insurance for all Dubai’s residents in 2013, and the remodelling of the health governance framework to increase the accountability of hospitals.


New Generics Regulations

In 2018, a new regulation for prescribing generics was introduced in Abu Dhabi which states that all pharmacies must dispense generic medicines as a first choice and those who prefer their branded counterparts must pay the difference, which can be up to 70 percent more.

The move stands to help insurance companies, who will be afforded some relief on large annual bills. Additionally, local generics manufacturers may be able to grow a stronger presence and patients will have access to medicines that are cheaper but have similar efficacy to their branded counterparts.