Municipal Opportunities for Plastic Converters in the GCC Healthcare Industry

Nov 6, 2019

The healthcare industry across the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is undergoing similar fundamental changes. Socio-economic, business, high population growth, and changing demographics (increase in aging population) trends are causing challenges to the existing healthcare system. This has been compounded by a rise in spending power, which caused dietary habits and lifestyle changes amongst GCC citizens, hence contributing to greater prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. 

Nexant estimates the growth for the demands in the medical sector in the GCC to between 6-8 percent in the next 5 years, compared to 3.5-4.0 percent globally for the same period.

In addition to healthy growth rates, the GCC countries provide unique proposition for the healthcare industry. For instance, in the GCC, the Gulf Health Council is responsible for tendering for the supply of medical needs (including medicines, consumables, etc.) for all the hospitals under the ministry of health in each GCC country. All manufacturers (i.e., local and foreign) should obtain approval for listing their products on Gulf Health Council website and platform. Further, the Gulf Health Council, under the direction of the health ministries of all GCC country, gives priority in contracting for tenders for local manufacturers. 

Nexant sees opportunities for investment and growth in this sector based on its experience in conducting studies for clients. Find below a list of selected reasons:

  • There are very few local manufacturers of medical devices in the region.
  • The GCC approval process, for governmental hospitals and clinics is controlled by the GCC Health Council. This limits the time needed to obtain approval in each GCC country.

These factors have increased the demands on the healthcare systems in the GCC countries. The GCC governments and private healthcare participants are working together to overcome these challenges by injecting huge funds to build hospitals and clinics, upgrading  existing infrastructure, and pushing to match the quality of services offered in the developed countries.

The GCC healthcare supply lags behind international benchmarks, as illustrated by the number of beds. The number of beds per 10,000 people ranges between 14 to 31 in the GCC, compared to 57 in the OECD countries. GCC countries started addressing the gap through funds to build more hospitals and clinics and upgrading the existing infrastructure. 

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates is the group of countries that signed the convention on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD group started with 20 big economy countries such as the US, UK, etc., and has since added 16 extra member countries.

As a result, the healthcare industry in the GCC will face a rise in demand across a number of areas including disposable medical devices made from plastics. Focusing on the demands for medical disposable medical devices, Nexant sees a number of opportunities that can replace imports of such items into the GCC. 

Polymer injection molding and extrusion disposable supply and demand outlook for the medical/pharma/cosmetic industries (for the product groups mentioned above).

Contact Nexant experts to learn about the opportunities in this industry.