A Look at Saudi Arabia’s Pharmaceutical Market in 2024

By Danélia Botes

February 23, 2024

Introduction:

In the rapidly evolving pharmaceutical landscape, Saudi Arabia stands as a beacon of growth and innovation, particularly as the largest market of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A recent update from Pharma Boardroom aimed to shed light on the Saudi Pharma Market 2024, detailing the country’s strategic growth, local production, and biotech plans, and the prevalent public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Vision 2030: A New Era for Saudi Pharma

The Saudi government launched the Vision 2030 initiative in 2016. Its aim is to lessen the economy’s reliance on oil and to instigate economic reforms. This strategy has fostered a robust business environment. Multinational pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Merck, and GlaxoSmithKline have found it attractive. Projections suggest that by 2027, the Saudi pharma market will be worth USD 15.1 billion. This potential makes it an appealing hub for global pharmaceutical and biotech companies. 

Boosting Local Production

Saudi Arabia’s government has been actively supporting the local pharmaceutical production industry with a USD 3.4 billion investment plan in 2022. The goal is to strengthen health security and nurture local manufacturing potential. Pfizer, the first multinational pharma company to receive a “trading licence” in 2016, has ramped up production in Saudi Arabia. The Local Content and Government Procurement Authority (LCGPA) has facilitated industry localisation and knowledge transfers by signing several agreements. One agreement is a partnership with Saudi-based Jamjoom Pharma, and MSD to produce sitagliptin phosphate, a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Another involves a collaboration with Saudi and Japanese-owned SAJA for the manufacture of ticagrelor. The Saudi Press Agency reports that the financial impact of each deal will exceed 67 million US dollars over ten years.

Biotech: The Future of Saudi Pharma

Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a global leader in the biotech industry. The National Biotechnology Strategy aims to make the country a biotech leader in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by 2030 and becoming a major global biotech centre by 2040. The strategy provides a detailed roadmap to tackle critical health issues, speed up medical advancements, and improve patient care through genomics, precision medicine, and advanced therapeutics. It therefore seeks to create a local bio-manufacturing platform to increase biologics and biosimilars self-sufficiency and export potential. This strategy is expected to contribute USD 34.6 billion to the country’s non-oil GDP by 2040 and create 11,000 job opportunities.

The Prevailing PPP Model

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan has been instrumental in activating the private sector’s participation in its healthcare transformation. The PPP model is being used to roll out new and more efficient healthcare infrastructures. While the government used to build, operate, and maintain hospitals, they now realise that the private sector can provide upfront investment and healthcare. The country delivered better services for the same or less cost because the private sector is more efficient and effective. In the future, this trend is expected to persist.

Conclusion:

To conclude, the Saudi Pharma Market 2024 promises growth and innovation. Strategic plans, local production, biotech initiatives, and the PPP model drive this evolution. This market transformation benefits not only the country but also global pharmaceutical and biotech players. Saudi Arabia’s strategic location makes it an appealing regional hub from which enterprises may serve other MENA markets.

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