Call to set up medical firms in Bahrain to meet growing local needs and cut imports

“Bahrain imported more than BD70 million worth of medical products last year

  

Medical companies should be set up in Bahrain to meet the growing local needs and cut down on imports.

This will be highlighted during a major conference being held next week to be attended by regional experts.

The BDFEX Health Care Investment Forum is taking place on October 23 and 24 at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa under the patronage of Supreme Council for Health chairman Lieutenant General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

The event, ‘Business Development and Investment in Healthcare and Medical Industries’, will feature National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) chief executive Dr Mariam Al Jalahma as its keynote speaker.

Dr Al Jalahma will discuss regulation and control procedures related to licensing of health facilities and professionals and registering, pricing and licensing pharmaceutical factories.

“Bahrain imported more than BD70 million worth of medical products last year,” said Raja Zayani, a member of the organising committee.

“This number draws attention to the importance of establishing national industries that meet the needs of the medical and health sector.”

The first-of-its-kind event in Bahrain, jointly organised by Proact International Consultancy and United Gulf Industrial Consortia, will discuss important solutions, ideas and innovations in the health industry in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Ms Zayani said Customs statistics indicate that Bahrain imported medical products from different countries including BD7.7m from the Gulf states.

“The Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, contributed 8.11 per cent of the kingdom’s total imports of medical products.

“This shows the desire of the Bahraini market for establishing different industries in the field of medical products,” she said.

Proact International Consultancy general manager Dr Khalid Bomtaia said the conference will discuss innovations in the field of the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare and medical supplies in Bahrain.

He said Bahrain’s import of medical products include antibiotics, catheter tubes, insulin medicines, bandages, absorbent cotton, surgical stickies, injections and needles for suturing.

“All of the above products can be manufactured easily in Bahrain, as they do not require huge production lines or large quantities of electricity or water drains,” added Dr Bomtaia.

The GDN on Sunday reported Dr Al Jalahma as saying that plans were discussed to help investors from Turkey and Thailand to set up facilities in Bahrain.

A Turkish investor plans to open a hair transplant centre, while Thai investors plan to set up a modern medicine centre and a Thai medicine centre.

The NHRA is also working on a project with Indian investors to establish a stem cell bank that would store umbilical cord blood which could later be used to harvest stem cells to repair diseased, dysfunctional or injured body tissue.

In addition, three factories manufacturing medical syringes, drugs and capsules are also being set up.

The health regulator located in the Seef District operates an Investor’s Office to help foreign investors in the health sector, explain the process of opening health facilities and local legislation. Investment has increased since regulations were eased in 2016, allowing non-medical related individuals to pump money in the health sector, which was earlier restricted to doctors or pharmacists.

sandy@gdn.com.bh

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