Healthcare Market Opportunities Abound in Saudi Arabia

Opportunities for investment in healthcare, particularly for private sector companies, are abundant, and necessary, within Saudi Arabia’s market.

Saudi Arabia has historically provided free healthcare to its citizens throughout their whole lives. But a growing population and the swelling incidence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes are badly straining the available public infrastructure to a breaking point: a recent estimate found the Kingdom will need 15,888 beds by 2018 to compensate for the rising demand for services. In response, the government is looking to public-private partnerships to fill the gaps in its current healthcare delivery capabilities. One such partnership is a joint venture between Saudi Trans Sadara Company and China International Development and Investment Corporation Limited (CIDIC) to create four private hospitals totaling US$350 million. The hospitals will be located in Dammam, Jubail, Riyadh and Jizan, respectively, and are expected to be complete and ready for operation by the end of 2017. Generic drug manufacturing within the Kingdom also creates an opportunity for private sector investment, as Saudi Arabia currently imports 85 percent of its available drugs. Given that the majority of generic drugs are imported and patented drugs for chronic diseases have higher costs, increasing domestic production of affordable generic drugs could result in huge cost-savings for the Kingdom. Further private investment opportunities are available within the medical device market, health insurance market, and with information and communication technology (ICT). —AA

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