ADDED identifies 14 new investment areas within Abu Dhabi’s health sector

Al Shorafa explained that among the 23 areas identified for investment in the health sector, nine of them belong to pharmaceuticals

  
Medicine in shelves in commissioning machine in pharmacy. Image used for illustrative purpose

Medicine in shelves in commissioning machine in pharmacy. Image used for illustrative purpose

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ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, ADDED, has identified 23 industrial areas for investment mainly in the pharmaceutical and medical industries aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in Abu Dhabi’s health sector. Among these investment areas, 14 belong to new industries in the market while the other nine are already existing ones.

The identification of investment areas is part of the ‘Basic Industries’ project being implemented by ADDED’s Industrial Development Bureau, IDB, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, DoH, and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA.

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of ADDED, said that the ‘Basic Industries’ project seeks to create new investment opportunities and promote self-sufficiency in the food, health, industry and energy sectors. He noted that the project meets the directives of the Abu Dhabi Government towards achieving sustainable economic development and increasing the contribution of the non-oil sectors to the emirate's gross domestic product, GDP.

Al Shorafa explained that among the 23 areas identified for investment in the health sector, nine of them belong to pharmaceuticals, six of which are related to existing areas while the rest are newly emerging. He also noted that the medical supplies and protection equipment category has five investment areas, three are new while two are already existing. For medical devices and equipment category, nine investment areas have been specified and eight of which are new ones.

According to Al Shorafa, these investment areas were identified in collaboration and cooperation with the Department’s strategic partners and based on ADDED’s review of the current circumstances brought about by the coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak. He further highlighted the importance of achieving food and medicine security as well as preserving energy resources, which are the top priorities for the sector considering the current situation and the local market’s response based on studies.

The ADDED Chairman reiterated the Department’s commitment to strengthen its strategic partnership with government and semi-government entities, as well as with the private sector in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, which could increase activities within the basic industries and meet the local market’s need for quality and quantity products. Al Shorafa explained that ADDED has been preparing lists of existing investment areas within the industrial sector, which can be further developed to attract more investments including high-tech industries, backed by various government support programs to investors such as the ‘Abu Dhabi Local Content’, ADLC, program and the ‘Government Procurements Supporting Abu Dhabi’s Golden List’ project.

He emphasised that the ‘Basic Industries’ project is important in achieving self-sufficiency in the health sector of Abu Dhabi and the UAE and among the efforts being done to accomplish this is the identification of 24 top priority medical products, including pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and medical protection supplies.

Al Shorafa projected the initiative’s strong contribution to providing enough basic and vital products for the local market and addressing people’s needs during crises, emergencies, and disasters. It would also contribute to promoting locally manufactured products and commodities to become more competitive with imported ones, thereby increasing their market share. Moreover, it will play a key role in creating new areas for investment as well as in enhancing many of the already existing basic industries in Abu Dhabi.

Rashed Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, Undersecretary of ADDED, said that the total number of licenses issued for medical manufacturing in the emirate reached 23 licenses with an investment value of AED 1.992 billion, 10 of which are currently ‘Under Construction’ with an investment value amounting to AED 932 million; while the other 13 have reached ‘Production’ status with an investment value of AED 1.069 billion. Factories that have licenses with ‘Production’ status are identified as five for the production of medical protection supplies with AED 268 million as investment value; four specialized in pharmaceutical production with an investment value of AED 467 million; and four factories for the production of medical devices and equipment with an investment value of AED 334 million..

Al Balooshi added that the leading public and private hospitals’ annual consumption of priority healthcare related products is valued at AED 5.5 billion. According to reports issued by one of the specialized companies pharmaceutical products constitute 90 percent of the total consumed products, which is equivalent to AED 5 billion of the total consumption value. Medical supplies come at second place with 6 percent. Meanwhile, medical equipment represents 4 percent of the consumed products.

Al Balooshi noted that 74 per cent of consumed medicines are basic pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, which comprise 14 percent of the total consumed medicines and biomedical products or biological medicines comprise seven per cent. Meanwhile, 86 percent of the consumed medical protection supplies include clothes, disposable blankets, N95 face masks, surgical masks and gloves. Meanwhile, respirators, hospital furniture and patient monitoring devices account for 95 per cent of the medical equipment being used. He also revealed that the domestic demand for protection supplies and medical equipment is expected to grow further with an average between 89 percent and 172 percent compared to trends in 2019 and 2020.

He said that collaboration between various stakeholders is important and falls in line with the vision of the Abu Dhabi Government’s wise leadership towards achieving industrial security in the emirate. He further commended the fruitful cooperation between ADDED’s IDB, and some of its strategic partners, including DoH and SEHA, which has helped identify gaps between the basic products manufactured locally and those imported from abroad as well as specify the potential areas for investment to manufacture more basic products locally.

"We have adopted a strategic approach to the implementation of the ‘Basic Industries’ project by identifying the vital sectors targeted by the Department’s current strategies; studying the production capacity of Abu Dhabi’s leading factories; determining the percentage of consumption of basic industrial products; and specifying potential investment areas. These efforts were made by a committee which is represented by all parties concerned in identifying the needs for industrial products and analyzing the current gaps related to the availability of local products in terms of types and quantity," Al Balooshi stated.

Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said, "The new investment areas represent a wealth of new possibilities for investors and manufacturers in or looking to establish in Abu Dhabi. In particular, the thriving healthcare sector offers sizeable commercial opportunities for investors, and ADIO is here to help these companies." "ADIO is translating the investment areas identified by the ‘Basic Industries’ project into business opportunities, connecting investors to relevant partners and supporting their expanding operations both locally and abroad. We are also conducting several feasibility studies and looking at policy reforms directly related to these areas to ensure long-term sustainable opportunities for businesses," added Bin Hendi.

Dr. Jamal Mohamed Al Kaabi, Acting Undersecretary of Department of Health Abu Dhabi, said: "Providing sustainable healthcare services for our community and future generations remains at the forefront of DoH’s priorities. We are keen to continue our efforts together with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development to achieve a self-sufficient healthcare sector in the Emirate by identifying new investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector and support local industries that have proven success in innovation and excellence." "DOH contributed to the creation of group purchasing office which is not configured as government enterprise (Rafid) under Abu Dhabi holding. DOH is currently in discussions with global pharma firms to explore areas of collaborations on research and innovation," Al Kaabi added.

Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi stated that the health sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has witnessed an unprecedented state of expansion over the past few years, as we currently have 66 hospitals, 1835 clinics and medical centers, 880 outpatient community pharmacies licensed in the emirate of AD in addition to 77 licensed Drug stores. This enables us to uptake the severe pressure on health services during Covid-19 pandemic.

He added: "We are seeing the expansion and increase in investment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry which can help meet the needs of the health sector and identify gaps and opportunities in the future. Three licensed factories are currently operating in the emirate of Abu Dhabi for the production of similar medicines and medical solutions along with other factories that are under construction. Moreover, there are promising opportunities in the pipeline which can attract investments and add new areas for production in the local market, such as manufacturing biological medicines and vaccines, particularly during this time where there is a need to meet local and global needs and achieve self-sufficiency. We are also seeking to increase investment opportunities in the medical supplies industry to keep pace with the growing demand due to global changes in the supply chains of medical prevention supplies and other medical products." Mohammed Hareb Al Qemzi, Chief Executive Officer of Support Services at the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), highlighted the key role of the pharmaceutical industries in providing medicines to hospitals and health centers operating in the UAE, as well as in ensuring self-sufficiency in medicines and medical supplies amidst the global spread of epidemics and infections that have brought major challenges for countries’ supply of medicines and other medical needs.

Al Qemzi expressed SEHA’s pride to take part in the ‘Basic Industries Project’ which opens new investment opportunities in several sectors, most notably in health and contribute to achieving self-sufficiency in medicines and medical supplies in line with Abu Dhabi’s sustainable development.

Through the ‘Basic Industries’ project, ADDED, DoH and SEHA seek to add new achievement to the list of accomplishments and successful projects managed by IDB and its partners. The ‘Government Procurements Supporting Abu Dhabi’s Golden List’ project is also among the key projects on which the Bureau is currently working.

The project targets the inclusion of basic medical products in the golden list of industrial products as well as to develop a comprehensive action plan that will enhance medical industrial production; study new areas for investment; exploring the potential and existing challenges that may occur within these areas; and set a timeline for attracting and developing investments within the targeted industrial areas. These efforts are planned to be made in collaboration with DoH and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).

The ‘Basic Industries’ project is being implemented by ADDED in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), DoH, and ADIO.

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.

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