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Saudi pharmaceutical industry to grow 10 percent in 2014

The pharmaceutical sector is predicted to grow by 10 percent and 9 percent in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states respectively, local media said quoting experts.
The pharmaceutical market in the Kingdom is promising in terms of the number of factories, which stands at 13, or the volume of investments in the sector, Wail Al-Qasim, head of drug firms committee at Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), said.
The Kingdom is considered the major pharmaceuticals business player in the GCC, which was demonstrated in the government’s concern over the medical sector in general where some SR108 billion ($28.8 billion) was allocated in the budget for the sector, he was quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat daily as saying.
A recently-released report, meanwhile, said the GCC countries have captured 89 percent of the total medicine sales in the Middle East.
The report, released by British Deloitte firm, referred to the positive trends in the GCC region, including continued improvement in health care, governmental spending in technology and health education, establishment of a number of medical centers and strong growth of medical tourism.
However, certain factors remain, which will impede the growth of medicine sector in the region such as instability and upheavals prevailing in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the report said.
According to the report, the pharmaceutical firms in the region are experiencing pressures to repay debts due to rising costs and complexity in the global health system. The drug industry is primarily concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt and, to a lesser degree, in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, the report said.
The pharmaceutical sector, especially bio-technology and medical technology in the MENA region are expected to face two key challenges in the current year - firstly, product registration and pricing and, secondly, protection of intellectual property, the report said.
The two issues together with the turmoil will adversely affect enthusiasm of global drug manufacturers in their endeavors to conduct research in the Middle East region, the report said.
The GCC countries have been supportive to the growth of medical sector due to the importance of their economic activity in the MENA region and the increased growth of their population, Hasib Jabir of Deloitte firm was quoted as saying.
Patent-registered drugs represent 90 percent of the total sales based on prescriptions in the MENA region; however, the major challenge in this context lies in the timely registration and approval of new products, the report added.

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