5 Things to Know about Saudi Arabian Pharma


A rundown of five things to know about the USD 8.2 billion Saudi pharma market, including the impact of ‘Vision 2030’, the country’s leading position in the MENA region, why halal pharmaceuticals are not to be ignored, the regional firms playing among global giants in the Kingdom, and leading therapeutic areas.


Healthcare is a Key Component of Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’

As part of Saudi Arabia’s attempts to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels, a potentially transformative ‘Vision 2030’ plan has been laid out, with the overarching aim to: “Strengthen Islamic & National identity, offer a fulfilling & healthy life, grow & diversify the economy, increase employment, enhance government effectiveness, and enable social responsibility.”

As well as a litany of investment incentives for companies across all industries – including the life sciences – healthcare has been specifically prioritised. As part of Vision 2030’s National Transformation Program (NTP), Saudi Arabia has set the ambitious goals of increasing the percentage of residential areas, including peripheral areas, covered by health service from 78 percent to 88 percent, and increasing the proportion of patients receiving medical care from the point of entering the emergency gate to exit within four hours from 36 percent to 54 percent.


Saudi Arabia is set to make up 24% of the MENA Pharma Market by 2023

Saudi Arabia is the largest pharma market in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region and is estimated to contribute USD 10.7 billion or 24 percent towards the region’s USD 44 billion pharma market by 2023 by Informa Markets.

This growth will be driven by allowances for 100 percent FDI into the sector, efforts to increase the total local pharmaceutical production by 20 percent last year, the launch of e-visas to make the country more accessible, opportunities for business expansion due to the country’s reliance on imported pharmaceuticals, and socioeconomic factors, including increased medical insurance coverage, a growing population, higher living standards, and the incidence of non-communicable diseases.

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Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of the Skyrocketing Halal Pharma Market

Saudi Arabia can lay claim to being the centre of the Islamic world as home to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. The country is leveraging this to develop standardised regulations and conventions for halal products globally, including halal pharmaceuticals – a market projected to reach USD 174.59 billion globally by 2025 with a CAGR of 9.4 percent by Adroit Market Research. This growth will be driven by strong support from Islamic demography and a significant increase in Muslim consumer spending.


3 of the Country’s Top 10 Pharma Companies are Arab

While familiar faces such as Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis, and GSK are all in the Top 10 pharma companies in Saudi Arabia, regional players Tabuk, Spimako and Hikma Pharma are also represented in IQVIA’s 2019 rankings. These Top 10 companies accounts for 50 percent of total sales in the USD 8.2 billion Saudi pharma market.

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Anti-infectives and Alimentary Tract are the Leading Indications in the Saudi Market

According to IQVIA analysis, anti-infectives (19 percent of the total Saudi market) and alimentary tract medications (17 percent) are the leading therapeutic areas in Saudi Arabia. Treatments for  alimentary tract ailments are also being launched at a higher rate than other indications, leading to an additional USD 18 million in sales in 2019.

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