Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/01/2014 -- AE's increasing investment from public and private sectors in its healthcare industry is set to bring improved standards of care and increased access to medicines, as well as making it a more appealing destination for medical tourists. Mandatory health insurance introduced in January 2014 will be beneficial to further market growth. However, drastic price cuts of drugs as a means of reducing government costs and the country's fragile economy, which remains highly sensitive to oil prices, pose risk to our positive healthcare outlook.
Headline Expenditure Projections:
- Pharmaceuticals: AED7.02bn (US$1.91bn) in 2013 to AED7.44bn (US$2.03bn) in 2014; +5.9% in local currency and +6.0% in US dollar terms. Forecast in line with last quarter.
- Healthcare: AED60.06bn (US$16.35bn) in 2013 to AED66.08bn (US$18.01bn) in 2014; +10.0% in local currency terms and +10.1% in US dollar terms. Forecast in line with last quarter.
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The UAE dropped one place in our Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Rating (RRR). In Q2 2014 it ranked fourth out of a total of 30 markets in the Middle East and African region, with a score of 55.9. Key Trends & Developments
Dubai has emerged as a medical tourism destination in the region, although much work is still required to fulfil its potential, according to the CEO of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), Marwan Abedin. The country needs to be promoted as a medical tourism destination and it needs to address the flow of patients outside the country. Medical tourism visas, which were announced in 2012, should soon come into effect.
Residents of the Central Region of Sharjah, the UAE, have complained that certain pharmacists are selling drugs at higher prices than others. It has been asserted that the absence of competent authorities has encouraged pharmacists to raise medicine prices. Patients suffering from chronic diseases are forced to buy drugs at higher prices due to the unavailability of drugs from government hospitals. February
'The University Hospital Sharjah in the UAE has launched the first children's diabetes clinic in the country, specialising in providing check-ups, follow-ups and treatment. The UAE is ranked the first country in the region for children's diabetes prevalence, according to local health statistics,' reported Khaleej Times.
BMI Economic View: With consumer and business sentiment looking positive, the outlook for household consumption and fixed investment in the UAE is particularly bright over the coming quarters. We are projecting relatively solid growth over the coming quarters, with real GDP forecast to expand 3.9% and 4.1% in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
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