Pharmaceutical Boom in the UAE 2024

Welcome to a comprehensive exploration of the pharmaceutical landscape in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a dynamic market pulsating with opportunities and intricacies. As the most developed sector in the region, the UAE’s pharmaceutical domain serves as a compelling arena for both local and international players. In this detailed analysis, we embark on a journey through the key facets that define the market, shedding light on trends, challenges, and the myriad avenues for growth in 2023.

Market Dynamics in Pharma sector UAE:

Economic Powerhouse: The UAE, known for its economic prowess, witnessed an impressive 7.9% GDP growth in 2022. Amid this economic surge, the healthcare sector emerged as a focal point, attaining a valuation of USD 18.1 billion. Within this expansive sector, the pharmaceutical niche exhibited a robust 5.75% growth from 2021 to 2022, reaching a valuation of USD 3.91 billion.

Importance of Imports: A remarkable aspect of the UAE pharmaceutical saga is its reliance on imports, with a staggering 110.7% growth in pharmaceutical imports from 2018 to 2022. The annual growth projection stands at an enticing 5.8%, signifying a market poised for continuous expansion. The import value in 2022 alone surged to USD 4.95 billion, underlining the nation’s dependence on external pharmaceutical contributions.

Market Characteristics:

Defining the Sector: To grasp the intricacies of the UAE pharmaceutical realm, we narrow our focus to human-use pharmaceuticals falling under specific tariff codes . The market’s value, soaring to USD 3.91 billion in 2022, projects a trajectory of growth, with estimations reaching USD 5.3 billion in 2027 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6%.

Balancing Imports and Exports: The delicate balance between imports and exports in the pharmaceutical landscape reveals a dependence on European countries like Germany, Switzerland, France, and Belgium, alongside Asian powerhouses India and China. This intricate dance of global pharmaceutical trade showcases the UAE’s role as a logistical hub.


The pharmaceutical sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has exhibited continuous growth following the COVID-19 pandemic, and this positive trend is expected to persist in the coming years. This growth can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing demand for lifestyle-related disease treatments, mandatory health insurance, high per capita health expenditure, a preference for innovative medications, ongoing investments in development, and the expansion of healthcare infrastructures.

Trade Balance in the Pharmaceutical Sector in the UAE

In Millions of US Dollars (MUSD)


Pharmaceutical Sales and Health Expenditure in UAE

YearPharmaceutical Sales (MUSD)% of GDP% Health ExpenditureHealth Expenditure (MUSD)
20275,2920.9516.7Pending publication

These figures detail the evolution of exports, imports, pharmaceutical sales, and health expenditure in the pharmaceutical sector of the UAE. The consistent increase in these metrics suggests a robust pharmaceutical market and the critical relevance of imports in the country’s economic landscape.

Key Local and Multinational Players:

Local Giants and Global Titans: Within this thriving market, local entities such as Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar), Neopharma, and Globalpharma stand shoulder to shoulder with multinational giants like AbbVie, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson. This dynamic coexistence creates a diverse ecosystem, driving innovation and competition.

Opportunities and Growth Prospects:

Factors Driving Growth: The robust growth trajectory of the sector is underpinned by several factors, including the rising demand for lifestyle-related disease treatments, mandatory health insurance, substantial per capita health spending, a predilection for innovative drugs, and ongoing investments in development and healthcare infrastructure.

Market Access Strategies: For those seeking entry into this promising arena, strategic market access involves forging alliances with local distributors, deciphering the registration intricacies set by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), and placing emphasis on brand recognition in a market known for its discerning consumer base.

Legislation and Regulatory Compliance: The UAE’s regulatory landscape is anchored by Federal Law No. 8 of 2019, a comprehensive legal framework governing the authorization, pricing, and reimbursement of medical products. Navigating this regulatory framework is pivotal for successful market entry.

As we traverse the pharmaceutical expanse of the UAE, it becomes evident that the market offers substantial opportunities for those equipped with strategic insights and an understanding of the regulatory terrain. The sector’s evolution necessitates a keen awareness of trends, ensuring sustained success in this dynamic landscape.

Important Links:

  1. Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) – Uncover the regulatory framework.
  2. MOHAP – List of Registered Medical Products – Essential for product registration.
  3. MOHAP – List of Prohibited Medications – Ensure compliance with regulations.
  4. Duphat – Dubai International Pharmaceuticals and Technologies Conference and Exhibition – Stay updated on industry conferences.
  5. Arabhealth – Explore the latest in medical products.
  6. Medlab – Dive into diagnostics and laboratory advancements.
  7. Arablab – Learn about analytical laboratory industry trends.

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