U.S. health­care in­dus­try looks to woo Middle East mar­kets

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Adam Ruben­fire

Arab coun­tries, es­pe­cially those bor­der­ing the Per­sian Gulf, present an at­trac­tive op­por­tu­nity for the health­care in­dus­try as pop­u­la­tions and per­capita in­comes grow rapidly, life ex­pectan­cies rise and doc­tors di­ag­nose more life­style-re­lated dis­eases, ac­cord­ing to a 2015 Deloitte re­port.

Health­care spend­ing rep­re­sented 4.8% of Saudi Ara­bia’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in 2013 and 3.5% of the GDP of the United Arab Emi­rates, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

So it’s no sur­prise Amer­i­can health­care com­pa­nies this year are ex­pected to send their largest con­tin­gency ever to the an­nual Arab Health ex­hi­bi­tion and congress. Their pres­ence re­flects U.S. health­care com­pa­nies’ in­creas­ing in­ter­est in emerg­ing mar­kets such as the Middle East. Last year, Omar Ishrak, CEO of Dublin-based med­i­calde­vice maker Medtronic, said he be­lieves the de­vel­op­ing world will rep­re­sent a $7 bil­lion mar­ket op­por­tu­nity by 2019.

GE Health­care, Philips, Siemens, Mount Si­nai Health Sys­tem, Mayo Clinic and a num­ber of other providers, med­i­cal-de­vice mak­ers and equip­ment sup­pli­ers are ex­pected at the con­fer­ence in Dubai next week.

More than 250 Amer­i­can com­pa­nies will be ex­hibitors, a third of which are pre­sent­ing in Dubai for the first time.

The re­gion could also be­come a hot spot for in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy sup­pli­ers: Health­care providers in the Middle East and North Africa were ex­pected to spend $2.73 bil­lion on IT prod­ucts and ser­vices in 2015, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from Gart­ner, a Stam­ford, Conn.-based IT re­search and ad­vi­sory com­pany.

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