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Tue 28 Jan 2020 05:47 PM

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Why the healthcare market in the Middle East is a top priority for Irish companies.

Global medtech market is expected to be worth $584bn in sales by 2024

Why the healthcare market in the Middle East is a top priority for Irish companies.

With the advances across the breadth of the healthcare sector in the UAE, we are living longer and healthier lives.

These advances do not happen by themselves.  It is through public-private partnerships that provide the right innovative ecosystem to exist, from government encouragement through to private sector expertise that enable the right conditions for these advances to flourish.

Medical technology – or medtech as it is more commonly known – companies have grown substantially in Ireland.  In the 1990s, there were 50 of these companies in the sector, which has substantially grown to more than 450 today, supporting over 40,000 jobs in Ireland – in fact, nine of the top 10 medtech companies in the world have a base in Ireland.

This is good news for people in Ireland, but also good news for people around the world including here in the UAE, who all benefit from ground-breaking Irish healthcare innovation.

Residents, citizens and visitors to the UAE will probably not know that the care provided to them and especially when they need it most, is very likely to have been manufactured in Ireland.

Take for example, the Dubai Ambulance Service who have ambulances equipped with hardware and software from Irish company ACETECH and their paramedics trained following Irish guidelines and accredited by Ireland’s National Ambulance Service through the diploma in Emergency Medical Services delivered with the Higher Colleges of Technology.

Technological advances are creating new ways for healthcare to deliver better results for patients. From better enabled preventative care, right the way through the patient pathway, the best possible healthcare system is in place, more than ever before.

Global impact

Globally, the impact of Irish medtech is profound – 25 percent of the world’s population that have diabetes rely on the injectable devises that are manufactured in Ireland, 75 percent of the global orthopaedic knee production comes out of Ireland, 33 percent of the world’s contact lenses are manufactured there too.

Driven in part by ageing populations, Irish medtech companies continue to be a strong success story, continually rising to the challenge of an ever increasing demand from around the world for cutting edge technologies and solutions.

With a considerable focus on R&D investment over the years into the sector and the establishment of global R&D centres of excellence, Irish companies are reaping the benefits and becoming global players in the market.

This continuous focus on innovation is unabated, with more than 74 percent of medtech companies in Ireland planning to increase further their R&D activities, and thereby continuing to thrive.

With current medtech exports to over 100 countries reaching €12.6 billion ($13.9bn), and representing around 10 percent of the total exports for Ireland, it is an important sector for the Irish economy.

The economic opportunity to further grow this is considerable in order to take a greater share of the global medtech market which is expected to be worth €530bn ($584bn) in sales by 2024. The MENA region is fast becoming one of the priority healthcare markets for Irish companies to meet the growing demand which is expected to grow by 11.7 percent to reach $243.6bn by 2023.

With this in mind, Arab Health this week continues to provide a major platform and opportunity for Irish companies to promote their high tech innovations and expertise to the healthcare market in region.

With companies such as Empeal, Fleming Medical, GetReferd, CF Pharma Ireland, Maria Medical Technology, Medentech Connect, MEG Support Tools, Mypatientspace, Nouqerus, Precision Biotics, Profilo Smart, Tapa Healthcare DAC, theya Healthcare and Aerogen exhibiting on the Enterprise Ireland-backed pavilion, it is an exciting time to share the best of Ireland to the region.

Through the combination of world class expertise, ground breaking innovation, cutting edge products and services, with a healthy dose of global ambition, Irish healthcare companies will continue to make an impact in the region by equipping healthcare professionals in the UAE and beyond with a life-saving technology that’s used in health systems across the world.

Eamon Sikafi, senior market advisor for the Middle East & North Africa at Enterprise Ireland