Saudi healthcare budget to top $47bn
Riyadh, October 24, 2013
Saudi Arabia's healthcare budget for 2013 is $27.4 billion and is expected to increase to $47.7 billion by 2017, according to recent reports.
The increase has been attributed to the significant shortage of beds in the Kingdom, which has led the Ministry of Health to increase total bed capacity of the country's healthcare system by 44,000 beds, expected to be completed by 2015.
Means to provide the best healthcare to the people of Saudi Arabia is in the core of discussions at the upcoming third Patient Relations Symposium on December 9 and 10 in Riyadh. More than 200 of the Kingdom's healthcare decision makers, together with major medical distributors, are gathering to discuss future sector strategies and goals and to source the new medicines and equipment for their current and future projects.
Mohammed Al Amri, Symposium's project director, said: "The two most common ways to penetrate the market and conduct business within the healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia are a partnership with local distributors and strategic joint venture partnerships.”
“Although several distributors operate only in the specific regions, most operate throughout the country with a base in Riyadh or Jeddah. Distributors play a major role in registration of products, acquiring contracts, introducing new products, supply, distribution and logistics of healthcare in Saudi Arabia. Large distributors are also involved in after-sales service and maintenance. Medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, furniture manufacturers amongst others typically do business through distributors in the country."
However, for companies planning to have an on-ground local presence, co-operation with Saudi partners is required.
"To set up manufacturing facilities in the Kingdom it is necessary to form local joint venture partnerships, which has become increasingly profitable, due to numerous incentives introduced by the Ministry of Health and the Government of Saudi Arabia to attract foreign direct investment,” Al Amri added.
“These incentives include grants, land and interest-free loans for extended periods. This is emphasised for local manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry, as over 60 per cent of drugs produced are directly bought by the government. Other dominant forms of joint ventures include setting up of diagnostic centres, private hospitals, clinics, obesity, dialysis, rehabilitation and diabetic centres.”
The symposium is organized by naseba, French business facilitation group. Alongside the symposium, in collaboration with Naru Capital, Saudi and GCC sector investors will have a chance to source potential joint venture partners among 10 business cases at the Saudi Healthcare Capital Introduction Meeting.
Investors represent multiple levels of liquid capital, ranging in type from HNWIs, family offices, holding groups and semi-government funds.
"This is not a conference or tradeshow open to the public. This is a platform to introduce healthcare investment opportunities to strategic partners and investors in Saudi Arabia and GCC. Each business case is handled with confidentiality and all investors are confirmed to be seeking healthcare investments," explained Fabien Faure, managing director and member of the Executive Committee at Naru Capital. – TradeArabia News Service