United Arab Emirates

2020 Edition


The UAE’s pharma market was predicted to grow to USD four billion in 2020, representing a CAGR of 8.5 percent from 2019. The country sits at the heart of the Middle East which, although only making up two percent of the global pharmaceutical industry, has been growing at a rate of ten percent and is therefore increasingly attracting the eye of international investors.

With the full fallout of the global coronavirus pandemic still unknown as of April 2020, the UAE nevertheless seems set to remain a highly sought-after investment destination for the foreseeable future. A raft of multinational pharma companies are basing management for vast regions from the UAE thanks to its stability and openness compared to that of its neighbours, well-developed infrastructure, and attractiveness to top talent.

Moreover, the UAE’s welcoming embrace of disruptive technologies is a key selling point and its regulatory body is increasingly open to the early introduction of globally cutting-edge treatments and therapies.

Universal healthcare has been rolled out, creating a myriad of opportunities for pharmacos to cater to the country’s growing population, and a proliferation of non-communicable lifestyle diseases means that the country’s medical needs will continue to grow in the coming years.

Looking towards the future, the UAE will need to reconcile importing innovation from overseas with developing technologies at home among other challenges, but the nation’s burgeoning reputation as a gathering force in the global healthcare and life sciences industries seems well justified. 

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Samir A. Khalil

Executive Director, Middle East & Africa - Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Distinguished members of the pharmaceutical, health care and life science sectors,

As the executive director for the Middle East & Africa at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), I am proud to introduce this exclusive report, UAE Healthcare and Life Sciences Review 2020. This report represents an incomparable opportunity to precisely and fully showcase the capacity of the health care and life science industry and its stakeholders in UAE and in the wider region.

This particular region has faced a surge in demand for health care services in recent years. Shifting socio-economic factors, such as increased income and better access to modern amenities, have led to widespread lifestyle changes, fuelling a rise in lifestyle-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

To achieve progress, it is essential that the public and private sectors work together to combat these challenges. Yet despite these challenges, major strides have been made to lay the foundation for growth and development in the health care sector with a focus on research and development (R&D), education and developing a regulatory framework enabling entrepreneurship, innovation and global competitiveness. Regional governments are investing heavily in health care infrastructure and increasing capacity efficiency. There has never been a better time to build on this foundation and adopt a best practice approach to guide strategic policy and health care delivery. The long-term vision, investment and innovation policies of the UAE over the last several years encouraged the global innovative medicines industry to bring regional operations into the UAE. We believe the UAE offers tremendous potential for growth for the biopharmaceutical industry as the UAE rise as a serious global competitor in the life sciences sector.

PhRMA represents the leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies in the region, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA’s policy priorities include explaining the increased complexity and risk of the R&D process, reinforcing the need for investment in R&D, ensuring broad access to and appropriate use of medicines and emphasizing the importance of strong intellectual property incentives for new medicines in the Middle East and Africa region.

Hence, I invite all the stakeholders, officials, key opinion leaders and members of the pharmaceutical and life science sectors across the globe to take a closer look at the promising opportunities UAE has to offer as one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical hubs globally through this in depth UAE Healthcare and Life Sciences Review 2020.

Warm regards,


Samir A. Khalil

Executive Director

Middle East & Africa – Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Featured Content
Cover Story
A Gathering Force

Accounting for less than two percent of the global pharmaceutical market, the Middle East has long been somewhat overlooked by many drug makers, most of whom seemed more intent on chasing demand in the decidedly more populous Asian market space. But, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10 percent, the region is now consistently outpacing traditionally sought-after “pharmerging” heavyweights such as China and Brazil, and demanding a recalibration of life science companies’ emerging market strategies.

Facts & Figures

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2020. Healthcare & Life Sciences Review was produced by PharmaBoardroom.

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Report Director: Magdalena Anna Kantor
Report Editor: Mauricio Holguin García
Report Coordinator: Delphine Lemecier
Senior Editor: Louis Haynes
Editor: Patrick Burton
Report Publisher: Mariuca Georgescu, Diana Viola
Graphic Design: Miriam León


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