Boehringer expects UAE sales growth to reach double digits

Boehringer Ingelheim, the German pharmaceutical company, expects to post double-digit sales growth in the UAE on the back of new product launches this year, according to a top official.

Last year the company reported annual UAE sales growth of 34 per cent and 26 per cent across the wider Mena region.

“We expect solid double-digit growth this year and we have new products coming to market,” said Karim El Alaoui, the managing director and head of prescription medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim Mena.

However, Mr El Alaoui did not clarify if the company would repeat last year’s performance.

The company yesterday moved to a new headquarters in Index Tower at the DIFC, having outgrown its space in Dubai Health Care City.

Consultants Euromonitor International believe the UAE is now saturated with pharmacies and para pharmacies such as Boots, expecting only 2.5 per cent growth until 2020.

However, big international players are increasingly drawn to the country. Last year, companies from the pharmaceutical sector had 35 offices, which has risen to 47 so far this year.

According to the Ministry of Health, the industry has invested Dh20 billion into the UAE as private and government hospitals have spread.

Another draw for pharma companies is the average timeline for the registration and approval of new drugs, which now stands four and half months, the fifth fastest in the world.

“The healthcare industry is worth Dh54bn today and will be worth Dh71.3bn by 2019,” said Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for public health policy and licensing at the Ministry of Health. “The BMI Research Group says the pharmaceutical industry is growing at 8.1 per cent per year in the UAE and was worth Dh9.3bn in 2015. That figure is expected to rise to Dh14bn by 2019.”

Boehringer Ingelheim has offices in 145 countries developing its own patented medicines with annual research and development spending of €2bn (Dh8.16bn).

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