Arab Health 2013 Day Three: Resources for Medtech Companies Doing Business in the Middle East

Foot traffic at the show seemed to continue unabated here Wednesday. The mix of cultures and nationalities was energizing. World languages overhead at the event included, of course, Arabic, but also French, German, Chinese, Hindi, and others. But the most dominant by far was English. English is clearly the language of the healthcare industry in this Arab region. 

The Arab Health event draws people from a wide area ready to do business. I spoke to or was aware of attendees representing Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Bahrain, and Qatar. Despite this diversity, the message of Arab Health is that this market is approachable and there are resources standing ready to help American businesses engage here.

For example:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Services.
  • U.S. Consulate General’s office in Dubai.
  • U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
  • Capable private consultants (one extraordinarily professional firm that I met is Channels, owned by an American who has lived in Dubai since 1989).

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce delivered an update today on the state of the business in the Arab region. The details included data on healthcare and medical device spending trends:

  • Spending growth in the UAE was up 10.2% in 2012.
  • Medical Device spending hit $559 million last year and grew by 10.2% in 2012.
  • Total healthcare spending in Oman for 2012 reached $1.3 billion, up 32% that year.
  • Saudi Arabia is planning massive hospital construction plans. One report from in 2011 described plans for 121 new hospital facilities and 66 additional renovations.

Back on the show floor, additional product introductions included Root from Masimo, a wireless multiparameter iSpO2 monitoring solution with interfaces for iPad and iPhone, and a new solution from iCRco called Air Dr, a thin wireless flat-panel detector for digital imaging. This market is hungry for new, American technology. One U.S.-based medical imaging company has exhibited at Arab Health for the past 7 years. The senior vice president I talked with told me his foreign sales now exceed his U.S. sales.

The final day of Arab Health 2013 begins tomorrow. 

Don Beery is president of Blendon Group Consulting and executive director of the West Michigan Medical Device Consortium. Check back throughout the week for more of his posts from Arab Health 2013. 


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