Pharma industry eyes GCC’s ageing population to drive growth

An ageing population is set to drive growth in the Middle East pharmaceuticals industry, with the Gulf’s over-60s population forecast to reach 18 million by 2050.

The implications of the ageing population on the pharma industry will be a hot topic at global pharmaceutical event CPhI Middle East and Africa, which returns to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from September 16-18.

According to UN research figures it is estimated that the MENA population will increase from 443m to 654m by 2050.

Cara Turner, brand director – Pharma, for UBM EMEA, the event organiser, said: “It is estimated that there will be almost 18m people over the age of 60 years, living in the GCC by 2050, representing 25% of the total population, a significant increase over the current number which is reckoned to be just over two million.

The issue of an ageing population is not confined to the GCC, it is a global issue. In Italy, Greece and Spain the over 65s alone will account for 35% of their total population by 2050.

“So, this not only presents regional governments with major fiscal challenges, allocating sufficient amounts to their healthcare budgets over the next 20-30 years, but it also presents pharma-related companies with opportunities to grow in tandem with market demand, which is currently worth in excess of $40bn,” added Turner.

CPhI Middle East & Africa, supported by Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is set to attract nearly 300 local, regional and international exhibitors from more than 35 countries and over 4,900 participants.

Apart from an aging and growing population, other key market growth drivers include obesity and chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and oncology; private medical insurance that all expatriate residents must carry; medical tourism and the development of domestic manufacturing.

“CPhI Middle East & Africa will provide networking platforms for professionals across the spectrum of the pharma market to discuss these issues and forge partnerships and alliances,” said Turner.

This edited article first appeared in Arabian Business.