Saudi healthcare sector set for 12% growth to 2012

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The high prevalance of lifestyle diseases in Saudi Arabia is likely to drive annual growth in the kingdom's healthcare market by up to 12 percent over the next three years, new research has said.

Illnesses such as obesity and diabetes, which are rife in Saudi Arabia, are likely to boost spending in the country's healthcare sector and is set to outpace growth in other countries in the Middle East region, India-based research house RNCOS added.

Analysts predict that the pharmaceutical market and medical device market in Saudi Arabia will grow at annual rate of around 12 percent and 7 percent respectively.

"Currently, the market is characterised by huge private investments and this trend is likely to continue in near future also," the report added.

"The healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia seems very promising and is expected to outpace the growth rate of other countries in the Middle East region in coming times."

It said Saudi Arabia was one of the most attractive destinations for healthcare professionals in the world, with the sector witnessing rapid advancements in terms of technology in past few years.

The report said: "[The] healthcare market is expected to grow more strongly as the government is spending heavily in the sector.

"Increasing prevalence of chronic disease and ageing population are also expected to support the growth of the sector."

It added: "However, there are several factors, like high cost of healthcare treatments in the country, economic dependency of the country on oil rates, which are imposing a negative impact on the growth rate, but these are expected to be overcome in near future by government efforts."

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