Why the pharmaceutical industry in the Middle East is a great choice for marketers

Author Khaoula Bachira
May 13, 2022

With favourable economic factors, strong government support for healthcare, the roll-out of mandatory health insurance schemes and the aspiration for excellent healthcare services, the Middle East has huge potential for marketers within the pharmaceutical industry.

According to research in 2019, the Pharmaceutical market in the Middle East has witnessed continued growth over the last several years and in 2018 was valued at $25B, with a short-term growth of 13% between 2017 to 2018. The market is projected grow exponentially in the next five years and be valued at circa. $60B by 2025.

Within the Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the largest markets for the Pharmaceutical industry.

The latest industry data reveals that the Kingdom’s pharmaceutical market is expected to be valued at $10.74 billion by 2023 , while the value of the pharmaceutical market in the UAE is projected to reach around $3.7 billion USD by the end of 2020 (i.e. an 8.2% growth per year).

Currently 62% of the MEA market share is held by multinationals with Sanofi, Novartis and Pfizer being the largest corporations operating in the region. However, local and regional companies are quickly gaining pace. In the UAE for example, local organisations such as Julphar features among the top 10 and Dar Al Dawa is the fastest growing corporation.

Middle Eastern countries, especially those in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), are taking active measures to help the development of the pharmaceutical sector. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the key components of their vision 2030. The Kingdom believe that the Pharmaceutical sector is worth developing due to high local demand (which justifies production expansion) as well as their proximity to countries in MENA where free trade agreements are in place. The Kingdom is aiming to increase local production while shifting to advanced products and becoming a leading and innovative country in the MENA region. They have lunched several initiatives such as “Support the procurement and production of generic drugs” headed by the Ministry of Health and “Clinical trials and laboratories development” headed by National Guard Health Affairs.

The industry is growing as a result of continued improvement in the health sector, investments by government and implementation of visionary plans especially in UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Companies continue to focus on recruiting local talent as part of their nationalisation programmes across the region which has led to an increased demand of local candidates particularly those who have experience working overseas, combined with an understanding of local business culture.

However, there continues to be a lot of interest from candidates wanting to relocate to the Middle East largely owing to tax free salaries. The UAE remains the most popular destination of choice but we have noticed an increase in the number of candidates willing to relocate across the GCC countries. Irrespective of location candidates are looking for the right position which offers them a career progression and opportunity for growth.

Sales and marketing will continue to drive recruitment within the pharmaceutical sector. There has been an increase in demand for senior professionals who are creative visionaries and strong leaders, as well as strategic marketing professionals who understand the sales cycle and work alongside sales teams to generate new leads and achieve sales targets.

Salaries remain consistent in the region with bonuses more modest than in previous years.

Candidates who speak more than one language remain in high demand, with companies looking for individuals who can speak fluent English (should that not be their first language). Arabic is highly preferred but there is also an increasing demand for candidates who can speak an additional European language.

If you are interested in finding out more about recruitment within the Pharmaceutical industry in the Middle East, please contact Khaoula Bachira.

 3.IQVIA, Middle East & AfricaPharmaceutical Market Insights

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